DEFIBRILLATORS have been installed at every Southern and Thameslink railway station.

The life-saving machines have been installed at 238 train stations across the UK as part of a £15 million station improvement programme.

All Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern station will now have access to an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Sussex Heart Charity, who provide the care, treatment and rehabilitation for people suffering from cardiac conditions, supplied many AEDS to the stations, while the new £15 million programme has helped increase the number of defibrillators.

The AEDs will give verbal instructions and only shock patients if they need it.

Crawley MP Henry Smith, South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) medical experts and Southern Rail staff met at Three Bridges railway station to demonstrate the station’s two new AEDs.

Secamb community resilience lead Malcolm Legg said public access defibrillators are “vital life-saving pieces of equipment” which everyone should feel confident in using.

“Our call takers will help talk people through what to do if someone requires resuscitation,” he said.

“In this week of Restart A Heart Day, I would encourage everyone to learn CPR. It’s never too late to learn how to save a life.”

Saturday, October 16, marks the celebration of Restart A Heart Day – an annual training scheme relating to CPR and defibrillator use.

MP Henry Smith added: “Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern’s rail services keep the heart of our communities beating so it seems fitting to have publicly-available life-saving defibrillators at stations that can restart the heart of someone suffering a cardiac arrest.”

More than 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrest out of a hospital in the UK every year and fewer than one in ten survive.

However, early chest compressions (CPR) and defibrillation can double the chances of surviving.

Curtis Cassell, a station assistant who works the Great Northern commuter route between Knebworth and Harringay, has already used one of the devices to save a passenger’s life.

Sam Facey, head of zero harm in the safety and health team at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “By fitting these life-saving AEDs, we believe we’ve made a genuinely positive contribution to the communities across our vast network, which covers London and nine counties.

“All our defibrillators are publicly accessible, so of huge benefit not only to those travelling with us but also the communities we serve.

“We’re fitting the same model across our network to provide consistency of quality, staff familiarity and maintenance, and at some stations, where we were updating an existing AED, we’ve been able to return the original device to local charities for use at a second location in the community.”