This month we’re proud to feature the story of the Swanage Community Defibrillator Partnership and the work they’ve done to provide AEDs and AED training to the coastal town of Swanage, Dorset.
The Partnership was born in 2015, when four people with backgrounds in providing help and care to their community came together with a common goal - to provide community accessible defibrillators for the benefit of Swanage and the surrounding area.
Maggie Hardy (RGN) was previously the Swanage hospital manager and Rotarian, David Corben is a local estate agent and an ex-Royal National Lifeboat Institution Crewman (and first responder for Station Road incidents), Kyle Hickman, who was a police officer before his emigration to Australia and Ian Brown, Dorset Police Control Room Trainer and Coastguard station officer were the four people responsible for bringing the Partnership to life. In 2016, Resuscitation Officer Lisa Mattei joined their ranks to bring key life-saving training to the Partnership and serve as Technical Advisor.
Together, they all identified the distinct need for defibrillators. During the year, the town has a population of 10,000 - but in the summer, the number of people in this coastal town soars as people flock to the coast. They felt it was essential to take preemptive action in case of emergency, and get AEDs installed in their town.
Initially, they had the idea to initially provide four devices - but after 18 months of working to identify the requirements of the community, source different devices and cabinets, and get a comprehensive government structure and asset management process to ensure the devices are rescue ready - they have far surpassed their initial goal.
They are now at the point of providing 17 AEDs - with heated cabinets - for the town and surrounding villages. This was made possible through public, local business and charity donations - and means they will soon have an AED location every 400 metres!
This is an incredible achievement for the Swanage Community Defibrillator Partnership - and their efforts will certainly be appreciated up and down the United Kingdom.
However, the work doesn’t end with the installation of the AED devices. The Partnership has produced a governance document, an education portfolio and recruited guardians for the defibrillators, to check them regularly and keep them clean from the sand.
They have also taught almost 300 people to use an AED through their free, volunteer-run workshops. Their hard work was recognised last year when they won an Ambulance Service Award - and we at the Resuscitation Council (UK) are so pleased to note the incredible work they’ve done for the people of Swanage.
You can keep up with the Swanage Community Defibrillator Partnership on their Facebook Page.