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The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted the arrival on the wall outside the library, of a strange green box with a keypad on the front of it — and inside it a defibrillator. This has been kindly donated to the village by the Rural Communities Defibrillator Group (RCDG), which is based in Princes Risborough and operates in that town and the surrounding area of Bucks.

Like the defibrillators that organisers of the Heartbeat Haddenham campaign are hoping to purchase in the coming months, it is available 24/7 by telephoning 999. The operator gives the code to open the box and full instructions on how to use the fully automated device, and also despatches the ambulance to the patient.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) can provide life-saving benefits when an individual suffers cardiac arrest. It does this by delivering an electrical current through the chest to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.

The key characteristic of such a device is that it is designed to be very simple to use by ordinary folk with no medical training, and so can help to keep a cardiac patient alive until skilled medial assistance arrives. We've all seen defibrillators employed in TV hospital dramas, and the principle is very similar.

Although the GP surgery has a defibrillator, and another device is available to residents and staff at Stonehill House (Abbeyfield), the AED at the Library is the first in Haddenham to be publicly accessible and available 24/7.

Tony Warris and Richard Kendall are the two prime movers for Heartbeat Haddenham, and their campaign was officially launched just a couple of weeks ago — see here.

It is hoped that funds can be raised for additional defibrillators to be purchased and installed at other locations of high footfall in Haddenham — the railway station being an obvious example.

In the meantime, if you're "a heart attack waiting to happen", get up off that sofa and start taking daily walks — just make sure those walks are within a 500 yard radius of the Library!

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