Fire Service donate £62,000 worth of life-saving defibrillators to North East charity

The North East’s largest fire and rescue service have given their communities the gift of life – by donating £62,000 worth of life-saving equipment.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today announced the donation of 31 defibrillators to local charity North East Hearts with Goals.

The charity are dedicated to raising money to fund the installation of the equipment in schools, colleges, sporting clubs, GP surgeries and even in to people’s homes.

But they have thanked TWFRS firefighters for donating tens of thousands of pounds worth of defibrillators to them for free.

For many years the units have been located on the Service’s appliances in order to provide firefighters with the means to provide life-saving treatment.

They have now been replaced with the introduction of new appliances but 31 defibrillators were identified as still being fit for purpose.

Firefighter Carl Bell of Blue Watch at Birtley Community Fire Station and his partner Kath Summerville Hindmarsh both volunteer for North East Hearts with Goals.

So when he heard the defibrillators were looking for a new home, he requested that the equipment was donated to the charity to be used in the community.

Carl said: “My plan is to put as many of the defibrillators back into public service, and helping to save as many lives as possible.

“During an average week I will receive a couple of notifications telling me that one of our defibrillators has been accessed by a member of the public.

“After checking the defibrillator has been returned to its security box and the pads have been replaced; I can then report that the defibrillator is good to go and ready to help save another person’s life.

“These donated defibrillators from the Fire Service now act as a welcomed stop-gap between one of our defibrillators being used, serviced and made available again – actively keeping the lifesaving chain functional.”

Carl, and his partner Kath, are responsible for the installation, maintenance and monitoring of eight of the charity’s Public Access Defibrillators, which are dotted around the North East.

These Public Access Defibrillators are located on the external walls of a variety of public buildings throughout the region.

Over the past five years they have raised funds for each of the defibrillators, and have registered them with The Circuit and the North East Ambulance Service.

Chris Pearson, Crew Manager, Appliances and Equipment Advisor at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, has today spoken of his pride at being able to support Carl’s charity work.

He said: “We are proud of the work that North East Hearts with Goals do for the local community, in particular Carl and his partner Kath, in helping to provide and maintain these essential defibrillators that have already saved lives in the region.

“Our Defibrillator Replacement Project has given us the opportunity to contribute to the charity’s invaluable lifesaving efforts, and help towards our Service-wide vision of creating the safest community.

“It’s amazing to see the positive impact the equipment is already having on individuals, families and to community projects across Tyne and Wear.”

Since the charity’s inception a total of 30 lives have been saved with the intervention of the defibrillators that means 30 families have been saved the heartbreak of prematurely losing a loved one.

Back in 2020, the charity were awarded the Queen’s Award for voluntary service.

For further information about the wonderful work of North East Hearts with Goals please visit their website