South Western Railway (SWR) is set to install publicly accessible automated external defibrillators at all 154 of the staffed stations on its network.

The train operator, with stations across the South West of England, is investing over half a million pounds in the project.

The defibrillators will be placed in protective cabinets as close as possible to the front entrance of the stations and can be used day or night in the event of cardiac incidents at or near stations.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) estimates that there are around 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK, with only 1 in 10 people surviving.

The immediate use of CPR and defibrillators can double the chances of survival. Expanding the availability of these machines can, therefore, be lifesaving.

“As part of SWR’s commitment to the local communities we serve, I’m so pleased that we are installing defibrillators at every single one of our staffed stations, which could very well prove to be lifesaving,” said SWR Claire Mann, SWR managing director.

Station staff and local ambulance services will be provided with the codes to unlock the cabinets and access the machines, which they can provide to members of the public in an emergency.

Moreover, the locations will be added to ‘The Circuit’ – the BHF’s database. Once registered, a defibrillator is visible to NHS ambulance services, who can direct 999 callers to its location so it can be used to help save lives.

The rollout of the machines across 154 stations, which begins this month, is expected to be completed in the summer.