South East Wales

Barry undertaker uses defibrillator to save lives

Two men practicing CPR on a dummy
Image caption Assistant funeral directors Barry Wills and Chris Williams receiving CPR training

An undertaker hopes to keep people alive by hosting a portable defibrillator in his funeral home.

Lindsay Ellis installed the £1,200 machine at his premises in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, after witnessing two cardiac arrests in the town centre.

People will be directed to the Park Independent Funeral Home by 999 operators, where trained staff members can be called to attend an emergency.

He said it was part of his business's "contribution to the community".

The machine, funded by Barry Male Voice Choir and the British Heart Foundation, will be kept at the funeral home on Kings Square.

It is the first public access defibrillator site in Barry, and Mr Ellis, a former ambulance technician, said he needed to take part because others were too cautious to take on the responsibility.

"What made me go for it was more because big companies wouldn't take it on, they were scared of liabilities."

All eight staff at the home have been trained to use the defibrillation machine and administer basic CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Mr Ellis said he was confident that they would be ready in the event of an emergency, and that what was important was "being patient and calm and not getting agitated."

He is aware of the irony of funeral directors saving lives.

"People are surprised. They say: 'You shouldn't be on the defib, you want the business don't you?' "

"We've been told we're the only funeral home that has a defibrillator on its premises."

There a 120 public access defibrillators across Wales. Since the scheme was launched in 2006 the Welsh Ambulance Service has trained 4000 people in their use.

Six people have been resuscitated at the scene using public access defibrillators since October 2010.

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