Equipment that could potentially save the lives of mourners attending funerals was recently installed at Beckenham Crematorium.
Dignity, the operator of the facility, raised funds for a defibrillator through their charity partner, British Heart Foundation and staff at the crematorium have all been trained to use the newly installed equipment.
A defibrillator is a device that can save a life by giving a high-energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high-energy shock is called defibrillation and is an essential life-saving step in the chain of survival. A defibrillator will only become active on a person whose heart needs a shock and will not cause any medical harm to someone that does not.
In the past six months, there has been two deaths at crematoria in the UK when visitors have suffered a heart attack while attending a funeral.
Nina Martin-Richmond, Beckenham crematorium manager, said: “Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around 10 per cent. We will always call an ambulance but wanted to do everything we possibly can to provide immediate help. Our partnership with British Heart Foundation has enabled us to purchase a defibrillator to be located at the crematorium for use during an emergency.”
British Heart Foundation spokesperson, Donna Stokes, added: “Defibrillators need to be available in areas of greatest risk – such as where crowds gather; a location where people are naturally anxious or under stress or possibly somewhere that an ambulance may take time to reach due to traffic congestion or distance from a hospital – so a crematorium meets all of these requirements.”