Lincolnshire Freemasons are working with the charity LIVES to make more life-saving defibrillators available to the community
Freemasons are investing at least £20,000 to meet the aim of installing defibrillators outside the 21 centres in Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. Moreover, the Freemasons and LIVES have set up an agreement to make sure they are maintained, with all funds going back into supporting the charity.
The move aims to guarantee that the defibrillators are available to everyone in the community around the clock, permanently ready to respond. The involvement of volunteers from LIVES, Lincolnshire's Community First Responder charity, will ensure that the equipment is professionally maintained.
Lincolnshire's Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler said: 'We have a long tradition of support for the community at large. Working in partnership with LIVES to provide defibrillators outside our buildings means they will be available for the community as a whole, not just our members. We see this as a way of making sure that Freemasons continue to be good neighbours, which is why we have agreed to cover all the costs involved.'
Members of the Bicentenary Lodge of Installed Masters in the local town of Horncastle has made a substantial donation to the work, which is being co-ordinated by Barton Freemason Phil Spicksley.
Phil said: ‘We have had defibrillators in our Masonic centres for eight years, but until now they have been fitted inside, and therefore available only to those using the buildings.
‘To make these arrangements for them to be outside, and therefore available to anyone who needs them, is a natural extension of Freemasonry’s growing openness.’
Kirsty Raywood from LIVES said: ‘We are thrilled to be working alongside the Freemasons to move all of their defibrillators outside so that they are available around the clock. Around 30,000 people in the UK experience an out of hospital cardiac arrest each year. The potential for saving a life is dependent upon time; the faster medical help can be obtained the better the chance of survival.
‘Clinical studies suggest you have less than five minutes from the onset of the event to save the patient’s life and the chance of survival decreases by up to 10% for each minute that their heart is stopped. The early use of a defibrillator alongside early CPR makes a significant difference for the likelihood of the patient surviving a cardiac arrest.
‘In rural areas it can take longer to get medical help, so Community Public Access Defibrillators (CPAD) have a very important part to play in helping to save lives in rural communities. CPAD schemes are reported to be up to 10 times more effective in saving lives, in the pre-hospital setting, than other community schemes alone.’
Work to fit the defibrillators has begun, and the first to be moved was at the Nightingale Rooms in Lincoln.