A PIECE of life-saving equipment has been installed at the East Lancashire Crematorium.

Dignity, the operators of the site in Cemetery Road, Radcliffe, have raised funds for a new defibrillator through their charity partner, the British Heart Foundation.

The decision was taken to install the equipment in response to two deaths at crematoria in the UK in the past six months, when visitors suffered a heart attack while attending a funeral.

Peter Field, Crematorium Manager, said: “We will always call an ambulance but it’s vital to provide immediate help to someone suffering cardiac arrest.

"Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving by around 10 per cent.”

A defibrillator is a device that provides a high-energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest.

Staff at the crematorium have been trained to use the equipment.

In addition to East Lancashire, another 45 crematoria operated by Dignity now have defibrillators installed including Charnock Richard and Lancaster & Morecambe. The company are also investigating the possibility of adding defibrillators to the outside of their funeral premises and offices in areas where this equipment is not currently available.

Dignity appointed British Heart Foundation as their charity partner in January 2017. In addition to installing this the defibrillator, Dignity has raised more than £450,000 for the charity by hosting events in their funeral premises, offices and crematoria throughout the UK.

Donna Stokes of British Heart Foundation, said: “Defibrillators need to be available in areas of greatest risk – such as where crowds gather; a location where people are naturally anxious or under stress or possibly somewhere that an ambulance may take time to reach due to traffic congestion or distance from a hospital – so a crematorium meets all of these requirements."