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Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Friday, 21 January 2011
A redundant village phone box gets a defibrillator
Telephone box
The remote village of Stourton has adopted the village phone box and fitted it with a defibrillator

A redundant village phone box has been fitted with life saving equipment.

The decommissioned red telephone kiosk, adopted by the Stourton with Gasper Parish Council, has been equipped with a public access defibrillator (PAD).

The PAD, supplied and installed by the Community Heartbeat Trust, was bought by the Parish Council as "ambulances generally can take some 40-45 mins to reach" the community.

"About 80% of cardiac arrests occur in the home or around the home," said Richard Schofield from the Community Heartbeat Trust.

"So it makes sense to have the resources for trying to save somebody available nearby."

Available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the phone box defibrillator is accessed using a combination code available from the emergency services by calling 999.

Telephone box
No calls had been made from the box in over a year

With spoken step-by-step instructions, "talking you through how to use it" the PAD requires no specialist training to operate.

"The misunderstanding that some people have is that somehow there'll be people chasing each other around trying to taser each other," said Mr Schofield.

"But it's very safe and will only administer a shock when it diagnoses that it needs to deliver a shock."

Funded with a £965 grant from Wiltshire Council and local village fund raising, the total cost of refurbishing and installing the life-saving equipment has been £2,000.

"The phone's been taken out, it's been refurbished and painted 'Post Office red' because we wanted to keep it looking like a telephone box," said local resident Andrew Morgan.

"And now we're hot to trot."

With first aid training sessions being organised for local residents, it's hoped the PAD could "make the difference between life and death".

"According to BT the phone box usage over the last couple of years has been a big fat zero," said Mr Morgan.

"And if the new defibrillator phone box gets the equivalent usage we'll be very, very happy."

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