Rail-charity partnership a real life-saver


Today Sussex MP and Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, unveiled one of the latest defibrillator to be fitted at a railway station in Sussex.

Amber Rudd Mp Rye station AED defibrillator

Sussex Heart Charity (SHC) first launched the programme two years ago as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations and has invested £100,000 in the programme.

Life-saving heart restarters have been fitted to over 50 stations across Sussex, including Crowborough and Eridge, through a partnership between the charity and Southern.

AED heart defibrillator on the platform at Crowborough railway station
AED heart defibrillator on the platform at Crowborough railway station

The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP helped celebrate the installation of one of the latest at Rye station today and heard that, by the summer, there will be an automated external defibrillator (AED) at either every station in the county and border towns or in the local community nearby.

Cardiac patient Steve Morris, whose life was saved by an AED, showed how easy the device is to use in a demonstration.  SHC provided funding for his training and equipment to become a qualified Community Resuscitation Trainer.

Chief Operating Officer Nick Brown at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), Southern’s parent company, said:

This is a fantastic partnership that has the potential to save lives right across the county.  Our railways are at the heart of our communities and it’s only right that they have the machinery to aid the hearts of an unfortunate passenger who may suffer a heart attack.

Dr Rachael James, Consultant Cardiologist and Volunteer Co-Chair of The Sussex Heart Charity said:

It is essential that defibrillation be administered as soon as possible following the cardiac arrest.  If the heart does not return to a regular rhythm within 5-7 minutes, this fibrillation could be fatal. That is why fitting AEDs close by where they may be most needed is so helpful.  Providing some form or basic life support, especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

The charity has provided the equipment, while GTR teams carried out the installation.  The defibrillators are placed on the station where they can be reached by anyone from the village or town they are based in, meaning they can benefit the entire community and not just passengers on board Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink stations.

The defibrillators, which can restart a heart that has stopped or is beating arrhythmically due to a cardiac arrest or other condition, are automatic and provide step-by-step voice prompts so they can be used by anyone.

Crowborough Community First Responders recently Tweeted photographs and a map showing the location of the AEDs they have installed in Crowborough:



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