19 April 2022| | 3 min read
Defibrillator that was stolen from Newcastle library has been replaced
A potentially-lifesaving defibrillator that was stolen from outside a Newcastle library has been replaced.
A new device has been installed at Fenham Library after the original defibrillator was stolen and its storage unit was vandalised late last year.
Newcastle City Council has replaced the device, which had been used multiple times in medical emergencies prior to its theft, at a cost of approximately £1,500.
Lorna Smith, Interim Director of Public Health at Newcastle City Council, said: “These pieces of equipment can quite literally be the difference between life and death for people who require them in an emergency.
“There is no reason for anyone to interfere with defibrillators, wherever they are, unless they are needed for their intended purpose. They have no value in any other circumstance, but if they are not accessible because of damage or theft in the event of needing to restart someone’s heart, the consequences could easily be fatal.
“We were saddened by this act of criminality when the previous machine was removed, and I hope people will have the sense to think twice before tampering with a defibrillator in the future. You never know when one might be needed to save you or someone you love.”
Alex Mason, Community Resuscitation Officer at North East Ambulance Service, said: “It was incredibly disappointing to hear about the defibrillator being stolen in Fenham, especially knowing the difference it had already made in the local community.
“Cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating, can happen to anyone of any age at any time, and the chance of a person surviving reduces by 7-10% for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation. This is why community accessible defibrillators like this one are so important.
“If someone has collapsed, is unconscious and not breathing or not breathing normally, you need to dial 999, start CPR (chest compressions) and get a defibrillator as soon as possible. Defibrillators can be used by anyone as they talk you through what you need to do, and will only provide a shock if the person’s heart needs it.
“If you want to know more about CPR and defibrillation, you can watch some videos on our website here: https://www.neas.nhs.uk/get-involved/life-saving-skills.aspx or attend one of our familiarisation sessions.”
A defibrillator is an electronic device that can be used to help someone suffering cardiac arrest – when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly – by helping to restart the heart.
The Fenham Library machine had been deployed three times to emergencies in the local area in the months before its theft.
It is believed the defibrillator was stolen between 5pm on Monday November 8 and 9.30am on Tuesday November 9.