FIRE stations across mid and west Wales will be equipped with life-saving defibrillators.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is working with Save a Life Cymru and Welsh Ambulance Service Trust to have public access defibrillators installed at its stations across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

The partnership identified 22 stations across the three counties that do not have public access defibrillators within 500 metres and these are now being put in place.

A public access defibrillator can help to save the life of someone who has gone into cardiac arrest. Firefighters across the region have had to use them, with crews from Pontarddulais recently needing to use one on a casualty.

Chief fire officer Roger Thomas said: “It’s a pleasure to be launching this new rollout of lifesaving PAD units at our fire stations. MAWWFRS fire stations are known as community landmarks and are strategically located throughout the communities we serve to maximise fire cover and protection to the public. Having 24-hour access to PADs at these selected fire stations will greatly improve patient outcomes in the event of a cardiac arrest.

“I know that some of our crew members have first-hand experience of using a PAD and how effective they can be, with firefighters from Pontarddulais Fire Station recently using a defibrillator on a casualty.”

Save a Life Cymru (SALC) was established in 2019 by the Welsh Government and is working to increase the awareness of what to do if a cardiac arrest occurs to help ensure the chance of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest is the same across Wales.

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, no matter the age or fitness level. Every year in Wales, more than 6,000 people have a cardiac arrest out of hospital, however, the chance of survival will fall by 10 per cent per minute that CPR or a defibrillator is not used and around 30 to 40 per cent of people who suffer cardiac arrests will receive CPR from a bystander prior to emergency services arriving.

The first defibrillator to be put in place at a fire station during this campaign was in Carmarthen Fire Station during an open day earlier this month, with more being installed in the coming months.

Professor Len Nokes, chair of SALC said: “I am delighted that Save a Life Cymru has set up a new partnership with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that communities within the service’s area will have improved 24/7 access to lifesaving defibrillators.

“I must thank Nick Ozzati who initially identified the stations that would benefit from a free Welsh Government community PAD.

“This is also an excellent opportunity for me to introduce Marc Gower, Save a Life Cymru’s new community co-ordinator, to the region. As with this partnership, Marc’s role is to work with organisations and communities across the region to coordinate and manage public access defibrillator installations.

“He is also responsible for supporting the PAD registration process on The Circuit – the national defibrillator network – to ensure that defibrillators are known and available to the 999 emergency call takers, to help those who suffer a cardiac arrest.”

Defibrillators are easy to use and have a feature that talks the user through what to do. If someone goes into cardiac arrest, the person calling 999 will be directed to the nearest public access defibrillator and given the code to access it.