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intu Merry Hill launches regions biggest defibrillator programme

intu Merry Hill is embarking on a mission to train over 2,500 local residents on how to operate defibrillators by the end of 2018.

intu Merry Hill is embarking on a mission to help save lives across the Black Country by training over 2,500 local residents on how to operate defibrillators by the end of 2018.

In partnership with FastAid Black Country, ten members of intu Merry Hill staff have volunteered to support the charity by becoming official defibrillator instructors. The latest session took place at Redhill School in Stourbridge, where 300 pupils were taught how to use the equipment following the shopping centre donating a defibrillator to the site.

From completing this training 1,800 local individuals have now been trained however, the team do not plan to stop there. Recognising the importance of knowledge and access to the lifesaving equipment has resulted in the new commitment to train over 2,500 local people by the end of this year.

This defibrillator programme is such an important one to intu Merry Hill as staff regularly perform first aid on customers. In addition, Shaun Stokes, who is one of the ten defibrillator trainers, suffered a heart attack himself and now has an internal defibrillator.

Naomi Campbell, Community Development Manager at intu Merry Hill, said: “This is a cause that started at home for us, with our colleague Shaun’s experience inspiring the team. This project will help put power into the hands of the local community, enabling them to help other people, which is why we’re on a mission to provide training to 2,500 local residents by the end of the year, with plans to go even further in 2019.”

FastAid Black Country are a group of community first responders supported by West Midlands Ambulance Service who work to increase the number of defibrillators across the region as well as providing free training on how to use them.

Defibrillators are the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrest and immediate treatment can increase a patient’s survival by up to 70 per cent if used within the first three minutes. It costs the charity approximately £2,000 to install each one.

Paul Grove, Chair at FastAid Black Country, said: “In partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service, we aim to provide access to defibrillators to a population of more than two million people across the Black Country and Birmingham, which is why support from a place like intu Merry Hill is vital in helping us carrying out our work.

“We’re a relatively small team but we train between 30 - 40 people a month at a nationally recognised level in how to deliver basic life support and defibrillation.”

FastAid Black Country provide volunteer Community First Responders for West Midland Ambulance Service. To find out more about the charity or to get involved visit www.fastaidblackcountry.org.uk