Life-saving town centre equipment checked on weekly basis

WEEKLY checks are being carried out on life-saving medical kits which are used regularly in the town centre, according to Rotherham Council.

The council is responsible for six emergency defibrillators in Rotherham town centre at Riverside House, two at The Town Hall, two at The Markets, and one at All Saints’ Square toilets.

The Advertiser recently reported that three of the heart-starting kits were showing on the website as “not available now” — despite being advertised as accessible 24/7.

Rotherham Council was listed as being responsible for most.

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Cllr Adam Tinsley, who raised the issue after being contacted by Healthwatch Rotherham, said: “After speaking with the council’s defibrillator guardian, I was satisfied that checks were being undertaken and a few suggestions were made to ensure extra guardians were in place to make sure the defibrillators were checked in case of absence.”

Cllr Tinsley also contacted RMBC and those responsible for others to ensure there were weekly website updates to maintain the “active” status of defibrillators.

After checking again following the Advertiser’s story, Cllr Tinsley expressed his “huge disappointment” after discovering half were continuing to show as out of action, but acknowledged it was possible some defibrillators may have been checked but the statuses not updated.

He said he would be raising it as “an important issue” at a RMBC meeting.

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A RMBC spokesperson said the town’s defibrillators were “used regularly”— with three used across the borough on the weekend of November 12 and 13 — adding that “this can often lead to them being temporarily unavailable while any checks or replacements are carried out”.

He added: “Defibrillators not being returned after use can also lead to further downtime.”

After installation, the council’s defibrillators were registered with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, who relay information to the public when they call 999.

The online defibrillator directory is managed by The Circuit (the British Heart Foundation’s national defibrillator network), which the ambulance service provides updates for.

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The council spokesperson added: “Rotherham Council carries out weekly maintenance checks of the defibrillators it is responsible for and also receives prompts from The Circuit, which advises nominated guardians when a check, repair or replacement is required.

“They also notify guardians when a defibrillator has been used and its pads need to be replaced, the defibrillator has been removed from its housing and not returned or if it’s faulty.

“The guardian will then check the equipment and update electronically The Circuit to confirm that it is emergency-ready.”