Devon Air Ambulance provides new Defibrillator for Sidmouth Community

A joint initiative by Devon Air Ambulance (DAA), Sidmouth Masonic Lodge and Sidmouth Town Council has resulted in the recent installation of a new Automated External Defibrillator ‘AED’ at the Masonic Lodge on Sidmouth High Street.

The project came about as Devon Air Ambulance, who have installed AEDs at their shops throughout Devon, struggled to fit a defibrillator for public use outside their Sidmouth charity shop.

The charity reached out to Sidmouth Town Council to enquire where this AED might be located elsewhere in the town, so that it could still provide this potentially lifesaving asset to local people. Their enquiries showed that Sidmouth Town Council had installed a number of AEDs in the town and through this work had identified a gap in AED provision in the area of the main high street around All Saints Road.

Following initial conversations with several businesses on the high street earlier this year, the Freemasons quickly gave their full backing to the project and so all parties started making plans together to install the AED on the Masonic Lodge building.

Master of The Lodge of Perseverance, Roger Horton said:

Freemasons are always keen to help and support the local community. The Masonic Hall Management Committee were very pleased to agree to the defibrillator being sited on the building to extend this emergency facility to this part of the town, however, we do hope it does not have to be used too frequently though!”

The new AED, which is located on the side of the Masonic Lodge, is a fully automated machine which can be used to help someone who is in cardiac arrest. An AED provides a step-by-step voice instruction which guides the user through the process of assessing someone’s heart rhythm, and if that person is found to be in cardiac arrest it will then (and only then) deliver a shock to help that person. This defibrillator forms part of a network of AEDs in Sidmouth and the partners involved in this project encourage local residents to check where their nearest life-saving device is located.

Councillor Chris Lockyear, Chair of Sidmouth Town Council, commented:

“The Town Council were pleased to assist Devon Air Ambulance after they approached us. The provision of defibrillators in the town continues to extend and is an important part of the town infrastructure. I extend my thanks to the Devon Air Ambulance and the Masonic Lodge for helping this project come to fruition.”

The project to install a defibrillator at the Masonic Lodge builds on a broader piece of work by Devon Air Ambulance which aims to reduce deaths through cardiac arrest, which is the most common medical incident their crews attend. As part of their ‘Help with all your Heart’ campaign, over the last 12 months, Devon Air Ambulance have held a series of CPR and defibrillator training days throughout the county, one of which was recently held at Sidmouth Rugby Football Club.

“Quick intervention really does make all the difference for someone in cardiac arrest and early CPR and using an AED is something we can all do to help save lives before the emergency services arrive.” said Toby Russell from Devon Air Ambulance.

“Having a good network of AEDs in the community gives bystanders a potentially lifesaving piece of equipment that is proven to increase someone’s chance of survival. We are very grateful to Sidmouth Masonic Lodge and Sidmouth Town Council for their help with this project, which has brought a new AED to this busy part of Sidmouth”.

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