A PERSHORE company is doing its bit to combat heart attacks.

St. Catherine’s Holdings Limited, which is based in the town's High Street, has ensured its staff are trained in the use of life-saving defibrillators and has even installed a machine at one of its premises to help both employees and the public.

The automated external defibrillator machine (known as an AED or defibrillator) has been purchased by St. Catherine’s for The Angel Inn Hotel, the hotel, bar and restaurant in Pershore which it manages. The defibrillator at The Angel can be used if any staff member suffers a sudden cardiac arrest , as well as to help any member of the public in difficulty.

Seven members of The Angel team have attended a level two award in automated external defibrillator training course and eleven people have been trained across the group. The high number of Angel staff qualified in the award will help ensure there is always someone on shift who is competent and confident, to use the defibrillator in an emergency.

The decision to purchase the defibrillator and provide training through the group’s national health and safety training company, First Response Training, comes as many people campaign for defibrillators to be installed more widely at workplaces and public premises across the UK.

Figures show that sudden cardiac arrest is one of the biggest causes of death in the UK with in excess of 140,000 lives lost every year. Early defibrillation is the best possible chance of saving these lives. Without defibrillation, a person’s chances of survival are estimated at five per cent. This increases to a much more favourable 70 per cent if defibrillation is administered within the first three minutes of the attack.

Darren Eden, the Worcestershire-based entrepreneur who established First Response Training 17 years ago and now has chief executive ownership of five different companies under the St. Catherine’s group, said: “With a strong background in the health and safety sector, we as a group obviously recognise the importance of having a defibrillator machine onsite at The Angel and in having sufficient numbers of staff trained in emergency first aid techniques. We have taken positive steps to ensure that, if any individual were to experience a sudden cardiac arrest on our premises, we would be able to treat them quickly and hopefully save their life. We would urge other businesses to also consider the need to install a defibrillator at their site.”