Craigavon phonebox is transformed into life saver

A BT phone kiosk in Craigavon is now a life saver - thanks to an unique partnership by Craigavon Borough Council, BT and the British Red Cross.

Craigavon Borough Council installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), which can diagnose and treat interruptions of the heart’s electrical impulses which may follow a cardiac arrest, in the disused BT phonebox situated at Kinnego Marina Oxford Island Craigavon.

Available to everyone at marina, caravan park, bush craft centre including the people of Kinnego, Silverwood, Annesborough, Derrymacash and Derrytrasna 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the defibrillator is housed in the kiosk in a high visibility, green, vandal-resistant, heated cabinet. It can be opened under instruction from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service by calling 999.

The kiosk was bought by Craigavon Borough Council for £1 as part of BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme, as it was no longer needed as a working payphone in the area.
Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Colin McCusker comments, “This life saving equipment is vital for this area particularly when you consider that cardiac arrest can happen any place, anytime. This is a great idea and I know that we in Council are looking to increase the use of defibs throughout the area”.
Paula Powell First Aid Manager for the Red Cross, said: “We’ve had a huge interest in community defibrillators since our first one launched in a BT Phone box in Crossgar last year and are really pleased to see the Craigavon project come to fruition. Of course whilst the defibrillator is key, the other vital component is the first training as this is what gives people, who are not medical professionals, the confidence to act when facing an emergency situation”.

Up to 200,000 people a year in the UK suffer from a sudden heart attack, making it one of the UK’s largest killers. The faster a victim gets medical help, the better the chances of survival. The availability of a defibrillator machine greatly increases the chances of surviving an attack. With CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) alone, the survival rate is around five per cent, but defibrillation and CPR increases the chance to up to 50 per cent.

BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme has captured the imagination of many people since it was introduced in 2008. Apart from the defibrillator kiosks, boxes in GB have been turned into art galleries, public libraries, exhibitions and information centres, even the villagers of Ambridge in BBC Radio 4’s long-running drama The Archers have adopted their kiosk.

Gareth McWilliams, BT’s General Manager for Business Operations, said: “The most fantastic thing about setting up the Adopt a Kiosk scheme in Northern Ireland is how easy it is for communities to get involved and it’s gratifying to see rarely used boxes given a new lease of life.
“Over the years, many people have said that their local phone box was a lifeline. Now that most people have access to a phone at home or a mobile that’s no longer true, but a kiosk fitted with defibrillator machine is a genuine asset to a community and could be real life savers in the future.”
Edited by Pauline Nixon-Black, Public Relations Officer on 028 38 312429.