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British Red Cross fundraisers take defibrillators to the streets

Howard Lake | 20 November 2012 | News

The charity found that just 5% of casualties attending accident and emergency departments at hospitals had been treated by a trained first aider.Street fundraisers for the British Red Cross could start saving even more lives now that the charity is equipping them with lifesaving defibrillators. The charity’s face-to-face fundraisers are also being tought livesaving skills to help keep alive people who have suffered a cardiac arrest.

The British Red Cross says that it is the first charity to train its street fundraisers in lifesaving first aid. It is starting in London and will roll out the machines and training nationwide next year.


How to move from Fundraiser to CEO - by Bruce Tait. Upwards white arrow on blue background.


Its Director of Fundraising explained: “We are doing it to save lives, we see it as a public duty. Every day all over the UK our fundraisers are out on the streets meeting the public and unfortunately occasionally they may run into people who need help. We want to empower our fundraisers to be able to respond and potentially save lives.”

Indeed, the idea was sparked when Astarita was out with a street fundraising team and encountered a man who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Every year in the UK around 83,000 people die as a result of cardiac arrest. British Red Cross head of first aid Joe Mulligan said: ”Putting more defibrillators onto the streets will save lives, quite simply. Most patients suffering cardiac arrests will be resuscitated within minutes using a defib so arming our street fundraisers with them, who will working on some of the busiest streets in the country, can only be a very good thing”.

Lifesaving fundraisers

British Red Cross street fundraiser Lisa Kent, 32, from Shepherd’s Bush had to put her first aid skills into action two days after her training.

She said: ”I was out fundraising on the street in Sutton when I heard a bit of a commotion. A woman had collapsed and was having an epileptic fit on the pavement, there were lots of people around her but nobody knew what to do. I put her in the recovery position and phoned an ambulance and waited with her until it arrived.”

Red Cross street fundraiser Teon Blake, 22, from Tottenham, has also had to put his first aid skills into practice while working.

He said: “I was fundraising in Wood Green when an elderly man collapsed and hit his head on the pavement. I called an ambulance and kept him conscious and talking. He was very confused and upset and I tried to reassure him and make sure he was as comfortable as possible until the ambulance arrived.”