VANDALS are putting lives at risk by damaging life-saving equipment.
That is the message from a team of first-aid volunteers after three public access defibrillators (Pads) in Gosport have been broken into and vandalised.
The defibrillators in Bridgemary and Rowner have had to be replaced and Alan Parry, co-ordinator for the Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent Community First Responders, said if the vandals do not stop the equipment will have to be removed from public spaces.
‘We want people to know this vandalism is happening so they can keep their eyes open for it,’ he said.
‘I want the people doing this to realise that the equipment could be used to save someone in their family one day.
‘They are putting lives at risk. They are busting open the cases which means we cannot use them.
‘If this happens again I will have no alternative but to remove them because I cannot have emergency control sending a person to a vandalised defibrillator.’
Many of the defibrillators in Gosport were donated by members of the public.
Mr Parry added: ‘These defibrillators have been given by people in the community. Hard-working people have donated their money to see these put in place.
‘It is disheartening to those people to see the Pads vandalised. It is very frustrating.’
The News launched a campaign last year to get more Pads installed in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.
Every year more than 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the UK, and only one in 10 people survive.
Research shows that for every minute a person spends without CPR and defibrillation, their chances of survival drop by 10 per cent.
Our Heartbeat campaign saw around 20 extra devices installed in Havant, Gosport, Fareham, Emsworth and Portsmouth.
Chairman of the community board at Gosport Borough Council Cllr Graham Burgess had been helping to organise the defibrillators being installed around the town.
He said: ‘It is despicable that people are vandalising life-saving equipment.
‘I don’t think they understand the risks. It is just horrible.
‘It would be a shame if we had to remove them, but maybe the responders can look at moving them to somewhere with CCTV or that is always in view of someone.’