‘Make our city CPR friendly’

FORMER Lord Mayor Steve Smith is calling for more defibrillators to be installed across Bristol.

It follows the death of rugby player Sam Polledri in Millennium Square last Frebruary after a cardiac arrest.  Although there were five of the lifesaving devices nearby, they were all behind locked doors.  Bristol has one of the lowest numbers of automated external defibrillators in the country, which can save lives if accessed quickly.

Councillor Smith’s proposal, which was put to the city council on December 13, could require new large developments to include publicly available defibrillators, and new taxi drivers to be trained on using defibrillators and basic CPR techniques. A charity could also work with the council on installation and maintenance.

He said: “For me, this reform is really a no-brainer. Importantly, such an increase in training and hardware does not impose extra costs on the authority. The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity is already working with the council to provide elected members with the skills training for CPR and defibrillation.

“One statistic which really drives home the difference this can make in life and death is quite remarkable: the chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest rises from 5% to up to 75% through early intervention with these techniques and technology. If fortunate to get this issue debated, I am confident that the initiative to make Bristol a CPR-friendly city will command all-party support.”

In 2022, a new defibrillator was installed in Millennium Square, and Cllr Smith said one should be installed outside City Hall too. He said a similar programme has been rolled out in Swansea, with the city council there working with charity Heartbeat Trust UK. Swansea now has 459 automated external defibrillators

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service