A DEFIBRILLATOR has been installed outside a Dudley school as part of an ongoing project started by intu Merry Hill to ensure people have access to potentially life-saving equipment.

In the last two months, the Brierley Hill shopping centre has raised more than £15,000 through a combination of fundraising and donations to install 14 defibrillators at schools and community centres, with the most recent being at Holly Hall Academy.

In addition to the installations, 10 staff members have become official defibrillator instructors with FastAid Black Country, showing more than 1,000 people across the Black Country with how to use the equipment.

FastAid Black Country are a group of community first responders supported by West Midlands Ambulance Service who work to increase the number of defibrillators across the region as well as providing free training on how to use them.

Defibrillators are the only treatment for sudden cardiac arrest and immediate treatment can increase a patient’s survival by up to 70 per cent if used within the first three minutes. It costs the charity approximately £2,000 to install each one.

Naomi Campbell, intu Merry Hill's community development manager, said: “The presence of a defibrillator could be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation, which is why it’s so importance to ensure all members of the community have access to one.

“The partnership with FastAid Black Country first began when we offered our centre as a base for their operations and equipment. Since then we’ve been able to donate both time and funds to the cause, supporting more than 1,000 people with their training and 14 additional defibrillators being installed across the region.”

Paul Grove, chairman of FastAid Black Country, added: “In partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service, we aim to provide access to defibrillators to a population of more than 2million people across the Black Country and Birmingham, which is why support from a place like intu Merry Hill is vital in helping us carrying out our work.

“We’re a relatively small team but we train between 30 to 40 people a month at a nationally recognised level in how to deliver basic life support and defibrillation.”