Truck and Van dealer Guest Motor Group has installed a life-saving defibrillator in each of its 14 depots across the country after a colleague suffered a heart attack more than 12 months ago.
The equipment, which can be used to give a high-energy electric shock to the heart when someone is in cardiac arrest, was installed following an incident at its West Bromwich head office in January last year when commercial vehicle technician Jason Reed suffered a heart attack.
Colleague Andrew Martin went to his aid and seeing he was unwell got a member of staff to rush him to Sandwell Hospital’s emergency department. While there, Jason, who was 51 at the time, had a cardiac arrest and had to undergo a double heart bypass.
He returned to work 10 months later and is now well on the road to recovery. After what happened, Andrew approached Robert Spittle, managing director of Guest Motor Group, to see if a defibrillator could be installed.
“It was a scary moment for everyone involved and I’m pleased Jason has recovered, but it got us thinking about what more we could do in these situations,” said Robert.
“A defibrillator seemed like the obvious thing to install in our branches. I hope they will never have to be used, but in addition to our first aiders we have staff who are trained to use these pieces of life-saving equipment should they ever be required.
“As far as I’m concerned, each of these defibrillators is an investment in the wellbeing of our staff and in our customers.”
Jason, who lives in Bearwood in the West Midlands, said: “There’s no doubt colleagues saved my life by getting me to hospital quickly. It was a real shock as I’d not been ill before, but if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. It’s good news Guest has since put defibs in its depots.”
Andrew added: “We hope these will never need to be used, but after what happened to Jason I asked if we could have a defib and he agreed to put one in every site. I was really pleased that he agreed and I hope it’s reassuring to staff and customers.”
According to the British Heart Foundation, fewer than one in 10 people in the UK survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The charity says two big factors that play a part in this are: there are not enough people prepared to perform CPR when someone has a cardiac arrest and there is a lack of defibrillators.
“By having a defibrillator available to you and by training people in CPR, you can play an important part in saving more lives and showing you care,” it adds.