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Save lives with Fred

Readers in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset are being given the chance to support Fred – and save lives.

Fred, in this instance, is a mobile machine to treat heart attacks, and the campaign is a joint venture between the Western Morning News and the Westcountry Ambulance Services.

The First Response Emergency Defibrillator machines costs around £3,500 each and the appeal target is to purchase five of them.

They are needed because the region’s landscape and scattered population can mean it takes longer to get help to patients than urban areas.

The defibrillators will be carried on fast response emergency vehicles to administer help more quickly. The speed of the treatment is the key to saving lives.

Out of the 110,000 coronary deaths in England each year, medical experts believe some could be avoided if urgent treatment was given.

Forty per cent of ambulance calls deal with heart problems.

Ambulance spokesman Darren Gibson told the Morning News: “It is not about how quickly you can get the patient to hospital, it is about getting to them with the defibrillator.”

‘FRED’ is small, compact and light, which makes it easy for ambulance staff to carry on foot if necessary. It does not actually restart the heart but helps it get back into its proper rhythm.

Editor Barrie Williams told his readers: “There is no doubt whatsoever that this is a good cause.

“The sad truth is that most people tend not to have heart attacks while sitting in the waiting room of their local hospital.

“They are driving their cars, doing the shopping, cheering on their local football team or walking the moors when trouble strikes.

“If a high speed emergency response vehicle can be on the scene in minutes and a trained paramedic with a defibrillator can be administering the treatment a few seconds later, their chances of making a full recovery are much improved.”

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