Three new defibrillators powered by renewable energy have been installed at city parks in Leicester.
The defibrillators, which are the first of their kind in the UK, each have a solar panel and wind turbine to provide the power needed to keep them in top condition.
Public-access defibrillators are usually situated in a cabinet to keep them safe and protect them from the elements. However, the cabinets typically need a power supply to keep them warm and dry.
Because they need to be located near to a power supply, defibrillators are often near buildings and not in remote locations, which is a problem the renewable power unit aims to solve.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair says the council has set aside £65,000 to make defibrillators readily available in all of the city’s parks and open spaces.
‘We’re committed to making our parks as “heart safe” as possible,’ she said.
‘These defibrillators show that a lack of nearby buildings need not be a barrier to providing potentially life-saving equipment for people to use in an emergency.’
The council’s parks department also runs several free courses a year, open to anyone who would like to learn CPR and how to use a defibrillator. The courses are run in conjunction with local heart charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT).
Dr Mike Ferguson from JHMT said: ‘There are around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests a year in the UK, half of which are witnessed, often by family and friends. The survival rate is less than 10%.
‘If CPR is started immediately, done effectively – by a trained person with the victim lying flat –and a defibrillator can be got to the victim within eight minutes, the majority of people could be saved.
‘With cardiac arrest, it is better for a bystander to do something than to do nothing.’