90 lifesaving defibrillators have been installed within communities – with hundreds more planned for 2017.
Central England Co-operative has installed the devices across its entire trading area in everywhere from food stores to funeral homes to petrol filling stations.
This has been the first stage of a roll-out that will eventually see defibrillators put in place at nearly all of the Society’s trading outlets across 16 counties.
Hannah Gallimore, corporate responsibility manager, said: “We are so pleased to have installed 90 lifesaving defibrillators at locations across our Society.
“We have been able to use the money generated from the carrier bag levy to put in place devices that could save lives right in the centre of our communities for their use.
“If the defibrillator is ever needed, anyone can call 999 and the emergency operator will pass on a code that will open the locked case that the equipment is stored in.
“The device will then talk the person through how to use it – it is easy to use and any member of the community would be able to do so if needed.”
Out of the 90 total installations, 55 were at retail sites, 32 at funeral homes, one at the Society’s coffin factory, one at Bretby Crematorium and one at the Business Support Centre, in Lichfield.
It is estimated that around 100,000 people die from Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the UK each year and, while CPR saves the lives of around nine per cent, if CPR is used alongside a defibrillator the chance of survival increases to 50 percent.
As a community retailer, Central England Co-operative now has defibrillators sited at a number of its outlets. It has agreed further funding for the phased installation of hundreds more defibrillators in the new year, which will be installed by long-term partner Oak Electrical.
The business is working with ambulance services to identify the most suitable sites for equipment and, where possible, these will be in external locations allowing community use in an emergency at any time of day or night.