A former red phone box that was converted into a life-saving defibrillator has been given a long awaited makeover.
The box, on Slag Lane (close to the parade of shops), was decommissioned several years ago, but was saved and given the important new job after being adopted by a group of locals who formed the Lowton West Defibrillator Fund.
They were inspired by one resident, who had sadly lost an adult son to a heart attack at just 30-years-old. This person, who wants to remain anonymous, launched a fundraising campaign to have the phonebox converted, raising £3,000 to cover the cost.
After being installed in January this year, the only thing missing was a much needed bit of TLC to restore the phonebox’s red livery. With peeling paint and missing glass panes, the box was looking a little sad – but the volunteers needed to wait for better weather to complete the job.
After a further delay from lockdown, volunteers were finally able to complete the job this month – and it’s a big THANK YOU to Stan Crook and Brian Thilwind who gave up their own time to repair, re-glass and paint the box. A thank you also to local resident Andy Sparks who gave Stan & Brian access to the box (and kept them refreshed with cups of tea while they worked!)
The finished product:
She’s now looking fantastic, as we’re sure you’ll agree. And with the word ‘DEFIBRILLATOR’ clearly painted at the top of the box for all passers-by to notice, it is hoped that anyone in need of the life-saving kit nearby will be reminded exactly where to go for help.
Thanks must also go to several community groups including All Singers Great and Small Community Choir who raised £500; Wigan Ukulele band who raised £300 and and a local resident who personally donated £1,000.
How does the defibrillator work, and who can use it?
Inside the phone box is a coded access secure cabinet that contains the defibrillator. To access the unit a user needs to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the ambulance service. They will then be given the access code so that the caller can take the defibrillator. While an ambulance is sent to help the casualty, the caller has access to the lifesaving defibrillator to begin the essential resucitation without any further delay. And in the case of a cardiac arrest, minutes really make a difference.
Using a defibrillator is easier than you think
There’s no need for the person using the defibrillator to have any medical knowledge, previous experience of using the equipment or special training. The unit itself will talk you through exactly what you need to do – it’s actually very simple. You don’t need to worry about using the unit – even if you are not 100% sure the patient has suffered a heart attack, the unit will only administer a shock when it detects that one is needed.
Defibrillators like this are saving lives in an emergency – and one day could help you or one of your loved ones, in the event of a cardiac emergency.
How can I adopt an old red phone box to convert into a defibrillator?
The Lowton West Defibrillator Fund have developed some resources which may help, if you are considering adopting a former phone box. Visit their website to find out more.