AF&RS and Bristol Bears' Joe Joyce team up to unveil new community defibrillator

Joe JoyceAvon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) and Bristol Bears' Joe Joyce have today unveiled a new community defibrillator.

The device, crowdfunded by Simon Brookes, will be accessible from the front of the station and useable by anyone in the local community.

Passers-by need to simply call 999 24 hours a day and they will be given the access code by South Western Ambulance Service.

The device and lockable safe cost £1,800 and was completely crowdfunded by Simon, while the installation was paid for by AF&RS.

Joe Joyce, Bristol Bears Lock, said: “It's great to be able to unveil such a life-saving bit of kit where I grew up. 

"Having gone through CPR training last year with the Bears, I know just how important this is and how much of a difference this can make in life or death situations. 

"I know that this station is right in the heart of the Southmead community and it is great to see this collaboration work taking place.

"I think Simon has done a fantastic job in crowdfunding and I hope to see many more across the area."

Neil Liddington, Risk Reduction Area Manager for AF&RS, added: “We are delighted to have installed a Public Access Defibrillators outside Southmead fire stations.

“Our stations are naturally situated in the most populated areas, providing ideal locations for the devices in the heart of communities.

“The defibrillators will be available to the public 24 hours a day and not just when the fire station is occupied.

“This shows just how committed the Service is to ensuring the local community is safe. Being able to offer that first aid option is key, but also being at the heart of the community.

“We hope it is never needed, but if it is, we are happy to say it is there and accessible.”

Simon Brookes has been involved purchasing seven and crowd-funding six defibrillators around North West Bristol in the last year, including at The Methodist church hall, Westbury hill, The White Lion in Westbury, the RAFA club in Eastfield.

This also includes Southmead fire station and three currently being installed at Beehive public house in Wellington Hill West, the village shops in Stoke Bishop and the shopping area in North View, Westbury Park.

This is his first collaboration with the fire service and he is already crowdfunding more.

Simon said: “I was a community first responder for the ambulance service for nine years and realise the importance of bystander CPR and access to urgent defibrillation.

“I have made it my aim to spread 24-hour community public access defibrillators across the city and am already talking with groups in Southville and Stockwood to this aim.

“I raise money through crowdfunding,g accepting donations from those taught CPR free of charge, from local community groups and businesses and if that doesn't reach the target - leafletting!                    

“Most people approached know it makes sense and it's just getting them to overcome any perceived obstacles.

A spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said:  “The more people equipped with the knowledge and confidence to administer CPR and the more defibrillators there are available, the more people we can save.

“We encourage all businesses and workplaces to have defibrillators and CPR-trained people available to respond in an emergency situation.”

For more on defibrillators please see https://www.swast.nhs.uk/welcome/defibrillator-scheme/defibrillators