DEFIBRILLATORS for police and public use are being installed at 22 Gwent Police stations.

The machines are used to help people suffering sudden cardiac arrest and can potentially save lives. They are being installed after several Gwent Police staff suffered cardiac arrest in recent years.

Chief constable Julian Williams, who has supported the scheme, said: "After a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone's chance of survival by 10 per cent.

"Sadly, we know that only too well following recent tragedies, so it is important that we do whatever we can to avoid this from happening again."

The defibrillators are housed in bright yellow cabinets on walls outside the police stations.

They have already been installed at 17 Gwent Police stations, with another five being set up in the next few weeks.

The scheme is being supported by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust as part of the 'Save A life Cymru' campaign.

Carl Powell, clinical support officer at the trust, said: "This is a great step forward in supporting the communities of Gwent by improving early access to a defibrillator, which is an essential part of the chain of survival.

"They are shown to improve chances of survival dramatically if used early in the event of a cardiac arrest. We are therefore delighted to work with Gwent Police on this project."

– How do they work?

The machine works by giving a high energy electric shock, called defibrillation, to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest.

No training is required to use one, as the machine gives clear spoken instructions.

The machines' cabinets are locked and require a special code to be opened. Police officers will have that code, along with the Ambulance Service, and will provide it to members of the public who contact them during a medical emergency in that area, if necessary.

– Where are they being installed?

Defibrillators are currently available outside the following Gwent Police stations:

Newport Central, Bettws*, Pill, Maindee, Alway, Cwmbran, Pontypool, Tredegar, Ebbw Vale, Brynmawr, Monmouth*, Chepstow, Bargoed*, Caldicot, Rhymney, Ystrad Mynach, Blackwood, Risca, Caerphilly and Bedwas.

They are also available at Abertillery Joint Emergency Service Premises*, and at Gwent Police HQ in Croesyceiliog*.

(Locations marked with * are awaiting installation)