Heart Safe MCR reaches target for access to defibrillators across city centre

14th Oct 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Minutes from life-saving help: HeartSafe MCR 

An initiative providing life-saving help has reached its target of ensuring the public are never more than three minutes (walking distance) away from a defibrillator, accessible 24/7, when in Manchester city centre.

The HeartSafe MCR scheme was initially rolled out in the Piccadilly area of the city as part of a pilot scheme which has now been extended to span the entire city centre including the Northern Quarter, Spinningfields, Deansgate, New Islington and Oxford Road.

City centre management company, CityCo, and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), who jointly run the HeartSafe scheme, are keen to raise awareness of where defibrillators are located across the city centre as well as encouraging more businesses to sign up.

There are now over 120 defibrillators located across the city centre, with 25% of these accessible 24/7 to the public. The 24/7 defibrillators are mainly located in city centre hotels including Doubletree By Hilton, Jury’s Inn, Hotel Gotham, Hotel Brooklyn, Hilton Manchester Deansgate, Velvet Hotel & Bar, Whitworth Locke and Macdonald Manchester Hotel as well as at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, First Street and City Tower.

A further 15 Community Public Access Defibrillators (CPADs) are in advertising kiosks across the city centre including outside Zara on New Cathedral Street and Adidas on Market Street. Key city centre venues such as The Printworks, Manchester Arndale, the Royal Exchange Theatre, Great Northern Warehouse, Manchester Cathedral, the National Football Museum and the Science and Industry Museum, alongside businesses including Brabners, Hill Dickinson LLP and Peninsula have all signed up to the scheme and now offer access to a defibrillator during operating hours.

An integral part of the scheme is the training of staff at these venues and businesses to provide them with confidence when using defibrillators in an emergency. To date more than 200 staff have been trained through the HeartSafe initiative across various sectors, from hoteliers to professional services. The initiative also assists businesses in terms of ensuring maintenance of defibrillators as part of routine business health and safety checks, supported by Steroplast, which is working in partnership with NWAS and CityCo to facilitate access to defibrillators, servicing, business guidance and best practice.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) delivers an electric pulse through the chest to restore normal heart rhythm. If used within the first four minutes of a cardiac arrest it can give the casualty an 80% chance of survival.

Restart a Heart (RSAH) is an annual initiative led by Resuscitation Council UK which aims to increase the number of people surviving out-of- hospital cardiac arrests. It is run in partnership with The British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, NHS England and Improvement, Save a Life for Scotland, Save a Life Cymru, and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. In 2018 the initiative went global with the formation of World Restart a Heart (WRSAH).

Alex King, Partnership Director at CityCo said: “In the UK there are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year and following the real-time worldwide broadcast of the resuscitation of Danish footballer Eriksen on the pitch, the opportunity for learning and awareness is now at an all-time high. We launched the HeartSafe scheme in Piccadilly back in 2015 and since then have worked closely with the North West Ambulance Service, Manchester City Council and city centre businesses and venues to expand this life-saving initiative across the city centre. As we approach Restart the Heart Day we’re keen to raise awareness with the public of where these defibs are located alongside encouraging businesses to sign up to the scheme and ensuring those defibs that are in place are regularly maintained and as many staff as possible are trained to use defibrillators should they need to use them.”

David McNally, Blue Light Collaboration and Engagement Manager at North West Ambulance Service said: “The Heart safe zone within Manchester was born with one purpose to make automated external defibrillators (AEDs) freely accessible to anyone suffering an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Manchester City centre.  Every minute matters when someone suffers a OHCA and if an AED is at the patient’s side within 3 minutes the chances of survival can be 80%.  The relaunch will bring a renewed enthusiasm with existing partners and allow new business and organisations to register their devices to help support this.

“The partnership work with City Co has enabled collaboration with the key aim to help save live, the links that have been made have enabled not only provision of devices but the key awareness and training to use AEDs when an emergency presents.”

Jason Shay, Centre Director at The Printworks said: The Printworks has been a supporter of HeartSafe since its inception in 2015. As a premium urban visitor destination in Manchester City Centre, we continue to have a robust medical and first aid operation as part of our visitor experience, including access to defibrillators. Being part of Manchester’s city wide HeartSafe scheme allows us to support the public and emergency services should the need arise.”

For further media information please contact Anoushka or Kat at ECHO on 07732 846650 / anoushka@echo-pr.co.uk / kat@echo-pr.co.uk