Virgin Media O2 has partnered with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to make defibrillators more accessible on the high street. More than 200 defibrillators will be fitted inside company-owned stores, as well as training being given to O2 staff to help save lives.
This week (January 19 – 26) passersby will have the chance to learn CPR on screens outside O2 stores nationwide, to raise awareness. Meanwhile, BHF is in the process of registering the defibrillators with the National Defibrillator Network, The Circuit so that 999 call handlers will be able to direct people to nearby stores in an emergency.
Gareth Turpin, Chief Commercial Officer, Mobile at Virgin Media O2 said: “We’re using our national network of High Street stores to improve access to life-saving defibrillators and make a real difference to the communities we serve.
“It’s not just in stores where we hope we can make an impact; we’ve trained hundreds of our people in lifesaving CPR and zero-rated the BHF website and GoodSam app, so millions more people can learn vital skills or offer help in an emergency without using any of their data.
“With every second counting in a crisis, and CPR training taking just 15 minutes, there’s never been a better time to learn how to save a life.”
Alongside the rollout, Virgin Media O2 has also been training more staff – including those working in stores - in CPR, with hundreds of employees taking part in online sessions and in-person training. Despite more than 64 per cent of people knowing someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest and 90 per cent agreeing it’s important to help as best you can in this situation, just 19 per cent have had CPR training in the last year.
Brenda Edwards, a television personality whose family has experience of a heart condition and cardiac arrest, has visited one of the stores taking part. She praised the campaign and the Virgin Media O2 staff who have already taken part in the training.
Speaking on the visit, Brenda Edwards said: “What an incredible initiative for Virgin Media O2 to roll out. The devastating consequences of cardiac arrest to thousands of families are wholly apparent and so to have Virgin Media O2 roll out defibrillators across all their stores is ground-breaking. I only hope that other companies follow suit, and we can help save many valuable lives and families.”
This is not the first time Virgin Media O2 and BHF have worked together. In November 2021, more than 500 of its front-line staff were trained in CPR with each first responder receiving a portable defibrillator for their company vehicle. In total, more than 700 defibrillators have been issued to O2 stores or vans, and this has already led to several lives being saved.