Greenhous, the premier automotive dealer, has invested in Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at all of its car dealerships and fleet sites to give added protection to its staff, but also to the local public if they were in need. Staff at all sites have been specifically trained in the operation of the potential life-saving devices.

Speaking on behalf of Greenhous, Gina Hughes who is the Health and Safety Co-ordinator for the Retail and PDI/Fleet Centres for the Greenhous Group, explains the reasons for the investment in this safety equipment saying: “The subject of defibrillators was raised in a Greenhous Health and Safety meeting and there was a unanimous decision to follow up what it would take to install and train staff in the use of the defibrillators.We obviously want to protect our staff; the increase in purchasing of electric cars raises the possibility of electric shock for example to our technicians.We also wish to look after the interest of our customers and so to have this facility in our dealerships seemed to us to be good practice.”

Greenhous took the decision to position defibrillators in all of it retail and fleet sites and to arrange training for an initial 22 staff, this included two Directors of the company.Some are already first aiders, however this was not a necessity to attend the whole day course and achieve the qualification – Level 2 Award in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillation.

Pictured is Wayne Owen, Security Officer at High Ercall with one of the Defibrillators at the Gatehouse

The installation of the defibrillators is of particular significance to two Greenhous staff.Ray Coates is the Corporate Fleet Sales Director and, with his wife Tracy, he has been a volunteer first responder in his home town of Baschurch. Ray comments: “The local paper was looking for volunteers to offer their assistance with the deployment of the defibrillator in the local area and we thought we would offer to give something back to our community.It is important to raise awareness of the position of these defibrillators and what they do.If I take a call to deploy I will collect the machine from the Corbet School and head off to where it is needed and use it if necessary until the ambulance crew arrive.

“The machines are used to shock the heart back into rhythm if it is operating abnormally because of an accident or health issue.We have been called out three times, but fortunately the paramedics attended very quickly and we did not need to use the defibrillator.It is very important to have defibrillators in the community as well as in the workplace as we have at Greenhous.”

Indeed Greenhous have sponsored the siting of a defibrillator in the village of Ellerdine close to its High Ercall PDI/Fleet site.This reflects the company ethos of supporting its local communities.

A much more personal connection with the placement of defibrillators in the community is the story of Russell Higgs, Business Development Manager for Greenhous Volkswagen. Russell’s best friend Alex collapsed in the street in Tettenhall and died from the Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) at the age of just 25. This tragic loss stimulated Russell to raise funds for the installation of defibrillators in Tettenhall and Wolverhampton.He has engaged in a series of fund-raising activities including the Great North Swim, Europe’s biggest open water swimming event.

Russell explains his motivation: ““It was a terrible shock to lose my friend in such sudden circumstances. Together with his family, we have been raising funds for the charity ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’. Around £10,000 has already been raised and the charity put on screening days to allow the public to have free ECG tests. The addition of these AEDs has helped to prevent three more tragic sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) deaths occurring near where I live.”

At Greenhous, the defibrillator training will be offered to more staff over the next 12 months as part of the company training programme.