SHOPPERS could play a life-saving role in emergencies thanks to a new public defibrillator.
The device, which can shock a heart into restarting, has been installed in a former phone box at Greywell shopping centre in Leigh Park .
The majority of funds for the defibrillator were raised by Anna and Alan Morgan, whose 17-year-old daughter Sarah died last year after suffering a cardiac arrest on a bus while on her way home from Waterlooville.
Anna believes that the availability of a defibrillator could have saved Sarah’s life.
She said: ‘I’m delighted that a new device will now be available for residents in Leigh Park to use in the event of an emergency.
‘Sarah’s illness was caused by a virus.
‘It could have happened to anyone.
‘This equipment will give the community peace of mind that anyone can make a real difference in an emergency.
‘The devices are easy to use and include audio directions, which mean that, although training can help, it’s not essential.’
The Community Heartbeat Trust, J Edwards Funeral Directors, and PJM Electricals gave money and support for the defibrillator, which is available 24 hours a day.
Hampshire Constabulary, Havant Borough Council, South Downs College’s public services group and BT supported the bid.
Anna added: ‘I’d like to thank members of our family and friends, alongside generous members of the local community who donated time and money to this cause.’
Nigel Watson, of Havant Assets Limited, said: ‘We’re supportive of this defibrillator being installed as this is a positive development for both shoppers and residents.’
Havant Chief Inspector Clare Jenkins said the hard work of PCSO Alex McDonald made the installation possible.
She said: ‘The defibrillator’s upkeep has been arranged with a local firm who will change the pads after any use, and will monitor the maintenance issues, if they arise.
‘The defibrillator will be stored in a locked metal box and access will only be gained by a code number given after contacting the South Central Ambulance Service.’