Bedford train station on Ashburnham Road will soon have a life-saving automated external defibrillator (AEDs) installed as part of a roll-out that will see the devices available at all 238 stations managed by Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink.
While some stations already have AEDs supplied by charities local to them, rail bosses have included installing the devices at all stations in their £15m stations improvement programme.
Figures show that more than 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrest out of hospital across the UK every year and fewer than one in 10 survive.
But with early chest compressions (CPR) and defibrillation, their chances of survival is doubled.
Sam Facey, Head of Zero Harm in the Safety & Health team at parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), 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. They’re fully automatic – anyone can use them – and our staff are being given familiarisation training.”
The AEDs will be easy to use by staff or rail users if needed, giving verbal instructions on how to use them and only shocking a patient only if they need it.
They will also make a sound if the batteries are low or chest pads out-of-date, but all the cabinets are being wired in so they are “warm and ready to go”.
999 operatives will also be given details of the AEDs so they can direct people to them if they are close enough.
Every station will have the same model fitted so staff are familiar with how they work, no matter which station they are at, and to help with maintenance.
Where stations already have an existing AED, these will be returned to local charities for use elsewhere.
Bedford’s AED will be installed by the end of October.