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Fighting Disease

Phone box is a life-saver

Phone box is a life-saver

A decommissioned red phone box in County Durham is being used as part of an innovative life-saving Rotary project.

The traditional phone box on Durham’s Palace Green is the site for the city’s latest life-saving defibrillator.

Three Durham Rotary Clubs, Durham Bede, Durham and Durham Elvet, secured permission from Durham University to install the equipment in the high-profile location at the centre of the Durham World Heritage Site.

Community defibrillators are part of an extended regional project being run by Rotary North East, which stretches from the Scottish borders to the North Yorkshire border.

Barbara Broadbelt, Rotary North East District Governor, said: “One of the areas of focus for Rotary is disease prevention and treatment and this defibrillator initiative is a commitment to improve the lives of everyone in our local communities.”

county durham

The traditional phone box on Durham’s Palace Green is the site for the city’s latest life-saving defibrillator.

The equipment contains simple operational instructions to deliver a high energy electric shock to victims in the immediate aftermath of a cardiac arrest.

Rotary Project team member Tom Sharples said: “Studies have shown that a shock given within three to five minutes can produce survival rates of between 50 and 70%.

“The immediate delivery of CPR and early use of a defibrillator gives a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of surviving.”

Community defibrillators are part of an extended regional project being run by Rotary North East, which stretches from the Scottish borders to the North Yorkshire border.”

Funding of £3,200 for the Palace Green defibrillator and a similar one in Durham Market Place unveiled last year, came from donations from Durham City Freemen, Shakespeare Temperance Trust and the Durham County Councillors Neighbourhood Budget.

The devices are added to the existing North East Ambulance Service regional defibrillator network.

David Loudon, Director of Estates and Facilities at Durham University said: “Following its decommissioning and adoption by the University the phone box has had various temporary uses including an art installation for Lumiere.

“When asked by the Rotary club to convert it to allow a defibrillator to be installed for use by the wider community the University were more than happy to assist.”

Mike Wallbank, Operations Manager at University College and volunteer Palace Green defibrillator guardian, added: “I frequently see people taking photos of the red phone box and it’s great to see it put to such innovative and important use for the community and our visitors.”