On Friday 8 September, the council unveiled a defibrillator outside City Hall, for use if someone suffers a cardiac arrest.
Several council colleagues helped get the defibrillator installed, including Ellen Hitchins from Workplace Support who led the process, getting planning permission to install on the outside of the Grade II listed City Hall building. Rob Davis from Building Support organised the practicalities of the installation and electrician Steve Davies connected the power.
The unveiling followed the death of Sam Polledri in Millennium Square from a cardiac arrest in 2022 –Sam was 24 years old. Five defibrillators were in the vicinity at the time, but none were publicly available. Following her son’s passing, Sam’s mother Louise has campaigned to have more public defibrillators installed, and in December 2022 she spoke at Full Council. The council then unanimously adopted a motion to install the City Hall defibrillator.
Early intervention can have a huge impact on the survivability of a cardiac arrest. According to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), “CPR plus defibrillation within 3–5 min of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 49–75%”.
The unveiling coincided with a flag-raising for Emergency Services Day, which included a speech from GWAAC.