Healthcare Technology  

Red phone box kitted out with life saving defibrillator

A village in Argyll has become the first in Scotland and only the fifth in the UK to have a traditional red phone box turned into a lifesaving piece of equipment
 Phone boxes are being fitted with defibrillators
 
 

The village of Glendaruel in Argyll, Scotland has been the first in the country to benefit from a red phone box with life saving capabilities.

It is also only the fifth place in the UK to have a traditional phone box kitted out with a defibrillator to help treat heart attack victims while an ambulance is being called.

Featured within the phone box are step-by-step instructions of how to use the defibrillator and treat the patient.

The defibrillator also analyses the patient to determine if they are actually having a heart attack and if so, it is able restore the normal rhythm of their heartbeat by administering a powerful electric shock.

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To ensure the defibrillator is only used in an emergency, users have to contact the Scottish Ambulance Service on 999 for instructions on how to open its steel cabinet.

The creation of the medical phone box is part of BT’s ‘Adopt A Kiosk’ scheme, which sees traditional British red phone boxes given a new lease of life after their days as a functional payphone come to an end.

Under the scheme, five phone boxes in the UK have been fitted with defibrillators and others have been turned into public libraries, shops, information centres and art galleries.

BT has paid for the defibrillators, which were installed by the Community Heartbeat Trust charity and the phone box was purchased for £1 by the community council along with three others.

The idea of using one of the phone boxes as some sort of first aid centre came from 16-year-old Heather Munro who had just taken part in a British Red Cross first aid course with her Girl Guides group.

Suzy Munro is Heather’s mother and a member of the local community council. Commenting on the phone box she said:  “We have a lot of visitors to the village who come for the walking and our annual Cowalfest and a number of the local businesses are in the tourist trade.

“We have seen people suffering from chest pain and heart-related symptoms and, sadly, there was a fatality just a few weeks ago.

She added: “A defibrillator in the centre of the village will be a real asset and could help save lives in future.”

Meanwhile, Mark Johnson from BT said: “Over the years many people have said that their local phone box was a lifeline.

“Now that everyone has a phone at home or a mobile that's no longer true.

“But kiosks fitted with defibrillator machines are genuine assets to their community and could be real lifesavers in the future.”

He added: “The most fantastic thing about the Adopt A Kiosk scheme has been how communities across the country have become involved.

“Red phone boxes have become a focal point for all sorts of activities of real value to the local community.

“It's so gratifying to see our old rarely used boxes given a new lease of life.”

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