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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

South Western Railway to install lifesaving defibrillators at all of its staffed stations

SOUTH Western Railway (SWR) have installed automated external defibrillators at all 154 staffed stations on its network. This initiative, costing over half a million pounds, demonstrates SWR's commitment to safety and local communities. The defibrillators are placed in protective cabinets near station entrances for easy access during cardiac incidents. The British Heart Foundation estimates that there are 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the UK, with only a 10% survival rate. Immediate use of CPR and defibrillators can double survival chances, making the expansion of these machines potentially lifesaving.

Station staff and local ambulance services will have access codes to unlock defibrillator cabinets in case of emergencies. The locations will be added to the BHF's database, making them visible to NHS ambulance services. A heating system will maintain the defibrillators' operating temperature, and a monitoring system will send alerts for malfunctions or low battery. The rollout of defibrillators across 154 stations is now complete.

SWR has partnered with the Alex Wardle Foundation to raise awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), which causes sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest, particularly in young, seemingly healthy individuals. The charity was established in memory of Alex Wardle, a medical student and the son of an SWR operations trainer, who died from SADS in March 2016. SWR has raised over £7,000 for the foundation, contributing towards community defibrillators and training courses. As a result, SWR has decided to fund defibrillators for all its staffed stations. At the event, SWR Managing Director Claire Mann, along with colleagues and members of the Alex Wardle Foundation, participated in defibrillator training.

Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said:

“I’m honoured to have unveiled SWR’s Alex Wardle Foundation train at London Waterloo alongside Alex’s inspirational father Steve, who has served the railway for so many years and whose foundation we are proud to support. “Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome and other heart conditions can impact us all. As part of SWR's commitment to the local communities we serve, I’m so pleased that we are installing defibrillators at every single one of our staffed stations, which could very well prove to be lifesaving.”

Steve Wardle, Alex Wardle’s father and founder of the Alex Wardle Foundation, said: “It is wonderful to see this vision come to life. Having worked on the railway for nearly 40 years, I am thankful of the railway family’s support. March 2023 will mark 7 years since Alex’s death and, although I am still a grieving parent, I feel proud of everything that we have achieved to support our community. “This is such a momentous occasion and a showcase of everyone’s dedication. Defibrillators save lives and I hope that one day, if needed, it will save someone and their family true heartbreak. We are extremely grateful, and this is such an exciting opportunity.”

This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit:

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