Dialling 999 has always been an emergency option but now a telephone kiosk has itself become a possible life-saver.
The telephone box, a once familiar sight dotted about every street and country road, has recently become more redundant with the advent of the mobile phone.
However bright sparks at Kinnego Marina have found a new use for their telephone kiosk and it is now home to a defibrillator.
The BT kiosk has been transformed to house the (AED) Automated Emergency Defibrillator thanks to a partnership by Craigavon Borough Council, BT and the British Red Cross.
The defibrillator, which can diagnose and treat interruptions of the heart’s electrical impulses which may follow a cardiac arrest, in the disused BT phonebox situated at Kinnego.
The kiosk is available to everyone at the marina, the caravan park, the craft centre and all the people of Kinnego, Silverwood, Annesborough, Derrymacash and Derrytrasna, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The defibrillator is housed in the kiosk in a high visibility, green, vandal-resistant heated cabinet and can be opened under instruction from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service by calling 999.
The kiosk was bought by Craigavon Borough Council for £1 as part of BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme, as it was no longer needed as a working payphone in the area.
Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Colin McCusker said: “This life saving equipment is vital for this area particularly when you consider that cardiac arrest can happen any place, anytime.
“This is a great idea and I know that we in the Council are looking to increase the use of defibrillators throughout the area.”
Paula Powell First Aid Manager for the Red Cross, said: “We’ve had a huge interest in community defibrillators since our first one launched in a BT Phone box in Crossgar last year and are really pleased to see the Craigavon project come to fruition.
“Of course whilst the defibrillator is key, the other vital component is the first aid training as this is what gives people, who are not medical professionals, the confidence to act when facing an emergency situation”.
Up to 200,000 people a year in the UK suffer from a sudden heart attack, making it one of the UK’s largest killers. The faster a victim gets medical help, the better the chances of survival.
“The availability of a defibrillator machine greatly increases the chances of surviving an attack.”