Applications open to help fund potentially life-saving defibrillators across West Sussex

Call to increase the coverage and accessibility of the devices across the county.

West Sussex County Council is urging organisations including clubs and local community groups to apply for government funding that could help increase the number of potentially life-saving defibrillators across the county.

Applications are now open for grants from the Department of Health and Social Care’s £1million Community Automated External Defibrillators Fund. The fund aims to help save lives by increasing the number of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in community spaces, where they are most needed. These include rural areas, places with high footfall and areas where there are vulnerable people.

A defibrillator is a device that can be used when trying to save the life of someone who is in cardiac arrest.

West Sussex County Councillors recently gave their unanimous backing to a Notice of Motion put forward by Cllr Keir Greenway, Cllr for Bersted. This acknowledged that the County Council recognised the importance of making defibrillators accessible, especially in public places, sports grounds and Government-funded facilities.

It also requested further support from Cllr Bob Lanzer, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, to increase the coverage and accessibility of the devices across the county.

During the Full Council meeting in May, Cllr Lanzer confirmed the council supports and welcomes the initiative by central government to ensure all state-funded schools have at least one defibrillator, and highlighted they could be located at or near school gates to be accessible to the general public too.

Cllr Lanzer, speaking recently, said: “Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can provide vital life-saving treatment, however unfortunately, many defibrillators are never used because emergency services do not know where they are or how to access them. As advised by the British Heart Foundation “To help someone who is in cardiac arrest survive, a defibrillator needs to be found as quickly as possible. For every minute it takes for the defibrillator to reach someone and deliver a shock, their chances of survival lower.”

“We are urging organisations, including all schools, to register their defibrillators on The Circuit, the national defibrillator network available to the emergency services, so they can locate the nearest AED and signpost to it if needed in an emergency. We welcome support from our residents, communities and organisations in helping to increase coverage and accessibility where possible, of these potentially life-saving devices across the county.”