Consultation about a Third Defibrillator for Ribchester

The Parish Council has launched a consultation about proposals to take the existing phone kiosk on Blackburn Road out of commission to provide a location for a third defibrillator

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of premature death. SCA occurs because the electrical rhythm that controls the heart is replaced by a chaotic disorganised electrical rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF). Many lives can be saved if immediate treatment is given. The quicker VF can be treated by defibrillation the greater the chances of successful resuscitation. Seconds count and the ambulance service is unlikely to arrive quickly enough to resuscitate most victims.


The Ribchester Automatic External Defibrillator Fund [AED} has provided the village with two defibrillators; one located by the Sports and Social club and the other on the wall of the Pope Croft toilet block. Significantly however, the boxes do not provide the village with full cover, as the Ambulance Service has a policy of not informing a caller of the location of an AED if it is more than 200 metres from their location. To provide the village with maximum cover requires a third AED located in the village centre.


Despite extensive enquiries no suitable location has been found so far. The ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme run by BT may provide a possible solution. Under this scheme BT would make the current telephone kiosk on Blackburn Road available for adoption by the parish council. The phone would be removed and ownership transferred to the parish with BT guaranteeing to retain a power supply for 7 years. Locating a third AED within the phone kiosk would then extend the area covered by an AED to most of the village population.


There are, of course, some concerns about the removal of the only public phone kiosk in the village. What little is known about the use residents make of the facility comes from BT records. These show that some 20 calls were made in the past twelve months, although the records do not show the purpose of the calls. An added complication is that the parish council would need a robust argument to convince the Borough Council of the wisdom of taking the Ribchester phone kiosk out of commission if it was thought to satisfy a need.


Since the ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme was launched over 3500 communities across the UK have taken the opportunity to take on board an underused box. The parish council is minded to join with the Ribchester AED Fund in adopting the kiosk on Blackburn Road to house a third defibrillator. However, it wishes to consider the views of residents before taking the issue forward.


Although the consultation proved inconclusive there was a view that the phone box should not be decommissioned until such time as the mobile signal in the village was improved. Council therefore, decided not to proceed for the time being.