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Defibrillator in town removed 'because child could hit their head on it'

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REMOVING a public defibrillator in town could ‘set a precedent’ for others to be removed – potentially risking lives, a senior paramedic has said.

Gordon Hunt, Ambulance Service operation manager Picture: ROB CURRIE. (25767894)

A 24-hour publicly accessible defibrillator was removed from Charing Cross – after a member of the public complained that a passing child could hit their head on it.

Gordon Hunt, a senior paramedic and operations manager for the Ambulance Service, said that the defibrillator would now be available only during store opening times.

‘The more defibrillators that are out there, the more chance that there will be one there when someone needs it,’ he said.

‘In the event of a cardiac arrest in that area, it could result in a death of a patient if we are not able to get that lifesaving equipment to them.’

And Mr Hunt added that he was worried the removal of the Charing Cross defibrillator could lead to others also being taken away.

‘From the conversation I had on Twitter, I was told that it was because someone made a complaint to the parish, as kids could hit their heads on it as they were walking past, but there are lots of things that kids could hit their heads on,’ he said.

‘I am now concerned that this could set a precedent – if this one has been identified as possibly dangerous, then it could happen at other sites.’

Meanwhile, Silvio Alves, head of infrastructure for St Helier, said that although it fully supported the introduction of permanently accessible defibrillators it was important that those installing them gave careful consideration to the safety of passing pedestrians.

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‘The Co-operative defibrillator at the corner of its Charing Cross property was positioned where an unsuspecting child could hit its head or an adult could injure him or herself in a clash with the defibrillator, which protruded from the building line a considerable amount,’ he said.

‘The parish received a complaint from a member of the public not expecting the defibrillator to be where it is, and who hit their arm on it.’

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Co-op said that there was no alternative site for the device outside their store but others were available at the Town Hall, RBC’s building and two on Castle Street, near Sand Street car park.

‘We were told by the Parish of St Helier that the defibrillator located at our Charing Cross store was at a ‘pinch point which overhangs the footway and has been identified as an obstruction’, she said.

‘While work is under way to move the defibrillator to a permanent location it has been moved to the store manager’s office and is available to those who may need it during trading hours.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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