Equipment that could potentially save the lives of mourners attending funerals has been installed at Lancaster & Morecambe crematorium.
Dignity, the operators of the facility, have raised funds for a defibrillator at each location through their charity partner, British Heart Foundation.
A defibrillator is a device that can save a life by giving a high-energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest.
This high-energy shock is called defibrillation and is an essential life saving step in the chain of survival. Staff at the crematorium have been trained to use the equipment. A defibrillator will only become active on a person whose heart needs a shock and will not cause any medical harm to someone that does not.
In the past six months, there has tragically been two deaths at crematoria in the UK when visitors have suffered a heart attack when attending a funeral.
Susan Newbold, manager of Lancaster & Morecambe Crematorium, said: “We hope we never need to use the defibrillator but if someone falls ill when attending a funeral it’s vital that they receive help immediately. Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around 10 per cent.”
British Heart Foundation’s mission is to win the fight against cardiovascular disease and reduce the number of people that die prematurely due to heart conditions. Dignity appointing British Heart Foundation as their charity partner in January 2017. In addition to installing this life-saving equipment,
Dignity has raised more than £450,000 for the charity by hosting events in their funeral premises, offices and crematoria throughout the UK.
Donna Stokes of British Heart Foundation supported the initiative by saying: “We thank Dignity for their commitment to the community and the money they have raised to fund lifesaving research that helps keep more families together.
“Defibrillators need to be available in areas of greatest risk – such as where crowds gather; a location where people are naturally anxious or under stress or possibly somewhere that an ambulance may take time to reach due to traffic congestion or distance from a hospital – so a crematorium meets all of these requirements.”
In addition to the crematoria in Lancashire, another 45 crematoria operated by Dignity now have defibrillators installed.
The company are also investigating the possibility of adding defibrillators to the outside of their funeral premises and offices in areas where this equipment is not currently available.