Plymouth Citybus partners with Hearts Together to place defibrillators on buses

Life-saving defibrillators are being fitted to part of the Plymouth Citybus fleet in a groundbreaking new charity partnership.

Sixteen defibrillators donated by local charity Hearts Together, will be on board the company’s 16 Spark buses, which serve one of the busiest routes in Plymouth, with the aim to eventually have one on every single bus.

They can be used to restart the heart in case of cardiac arrest and can raise survival rates from 6% to an incredible 74%.

Plymouth Citybus has worked closely with local charity Hearts Together, who support patients, families and carers in the South West, to deliver the project. Defibshop, who are experts in their field, have also provided support and resources to assist this new venture. 

This is the first scheme in the UK to place defibrillators on buses. 

It will be officially launched on Wednesday 16th October - World Restart a Heart Day - with a display on the Piazza in Plymouth City Centre.

One of the buses with a defibrillator will be on show with volunteers on hand to demonstrate how it can be used. Drivers will also be trained to operate them.

Plymouth Citybus Managing Director Richard Stevens said: “We're hoping this investment will help save lives. In times of crisis our buses are often first at the scene, so it makes sense for them to be equipped with defibrillators.

“Members of the public will be able to use them and we are also training all our drivers in the hope that should someone suffer a cardiac arrest we’re doing our very best to significantly improve their chances of survival.

“I’d like to thank Hearts Together for working with us to deliver this remarkable project, which we believe will make a genuine difference not just to the health of our passengers but for the communities we service.”

Each of the buses will have signs to advise passengers that a defibrillator is aboard their bus, with clearly labelled QR codes next to them, which members of the public will be able to scan to play a video showing how to use them.

The aim is to have a defibrillator on every bus, with a fund-raising drive by the charity now underway.

Hearts Together Chief Executive Liz Harding said: “I’d like to thank everyone at Plymouth Citybus and defibshop for all their help with this project, which not only increases the opportunity to save lives but raises awareness of the work we do.
 
“Defibrillators make a tangible difference to communities - tragically 90-95% of cardiac arrests prove fatal when they go untreated, yet the likelihood of survival is altered dramatically by their use.
 
“Every minute without CPR or defibrillation, the chances of someone surviving a cardiac arrest reduces by seven to 10% - it’s that important.
 
“Buses are central to everyday life and it makes perfect sense for defibrillators to be fitted to them - it means one is never far away from those in need.
 
“I’d urge everyone who can to pop by to find out more during the event in Plymouth City Centre and to watch the video which shows you how to use the defibrillator, available from the QR codes next to the defibrillator signs on the Spark buses. Working together we can create heart-safe communities.”

Vick Smith, Account Manager, defibshop said: “Defibshop is very proud to be part of this Plymouth Citybus and Hearts Together defibrillator scheme.  

“It is vitally important the message around the use of defibrillators is foremost in the public mind, and the understanding that anyone can help in the event of an emergency.  

“Hearts Together work tirelessly to bring the public access to defibrillators, and Plymouth Citybus have supplied the perfect vehicle to do this. 

“We are convinced this initiative will be a very positive one, which is planned to be rolled out to the entire Plymouth Citybus fleet and, we hope, other public transport providers across the UK will follow suit.”

Plymouth Citybus and Hearts Together will be demonstrating the new partnership all day from 9am on the Piazza in Plymouth City Centre on Wednesday 16th October, supported by defibshop and a team of volunteers.

Hearts Together provides accommodation for patients, carers, relatives and healthcare professionals as well as essential lifesaving equipment to local hospitals and communities in the South West. The Plymouth-based charity also offers support and counselling to anyone affected by heart disease.