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Photos: BT red phone boxes get heart-starting makeover

Defibrillator machines coming to communities' kiosks...
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By Natasha Lomas on
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BT Red Phone Box defibrillator

Defibrillator machines coming to communities' kiosks...

Five former BT red phone boxes are getting a heart-starting makeover after BT agreed to fund the installation of defibrillators in the former phone boxes.

The first kiosk to get a defibrillator is located in the village of Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire - the 1,500th red phone box to be adopted by a local community for £1 under BT's Adopt a Kiosk scheme, which kicked off back in 2008.

Pictured above is BT Payphones' Mark Johnson with Lower Slaughter Parish Council chair David Barnes and Richard Schofield from the Community Heartbeat Trust (CHT), a charity that provides defibrillator equipment to local communities.

BT has been working with the CHT to liaise with communities on installing defibrillators in former phone boxes. The telco is paying for the equipment and installation of the defibrillators into the five kiosks.

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Lower Slaughter Cotswold Gloucestershire

Sheila Jeffery, Cotswold district councillor and representative on the Health Scrutiny Committee, said in a statement: "Lower Slaughter is a very beautiful but very busy Cotswold village, with a large number of visitors every year, and the kiosk really could help saves lives in the future."

The village of Lower Slaughter is pictured above.

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BT Red Phone Box defibrillator

The defibrillator machines are secured within high-visibility, vandal-resistant, heated steel cabinets and require a combination code to be opened - available from the emergency services by dialling 999.

The machine talks the user through administering treatment to a casualty, including - if required - delivering a controlled electric shock to restore normal heartbeat.

Up to 200,000 people in the UK suffer a sudden cardiac attack every year, according to BT. Use of defibrillation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) increases the chance of survival from five per cent with CPR alone to up to 50 per cent with CPR and a defibrillator.

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BT Red Phone Box defibrillator

Martin Fagan, national secretary of the CHT, said in a statement: "Phone boxes are ideal locations for emergency medical equipment because they're often in the centre of a village.

"With something as serious as a cardiac arrest, time is of the essence, and unfortunately the emergency services can't always reach country villages in the recommended five minutes. We hope that many more people will adopt their kiosk and enlist our help to save lives in rural communities."

Pictured above is Sheila Jeffery, Cotswold district councillor with John Lumb, BT general manager of BT Payphones, the CHT's Schofield and Kevin Dickens, community response manager for Great Western NHS.

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BT Red Phone Box gallery

The Adopt a Kiosk scheme was BT's answer to local communities wanting to preserve their red phone box after the telco had determined the local payphone was no longer viable. Payphone use has been falling off since its peak in 2002, according to BT - with calls from payphones falling by more than 80 per cent in the last five years.

Under its Adopt a Kiosk scheme, BT removes the telephone equipment from a red phone box and communities pay £1 to keep the iconic red phone box itself. The scheme has led to a variety of colourful uses for former phone boxes, including art galleries, libraries, wi-fi hubs and even a temporary - and presumably rather cosy - pub, according to a BT spokesman.

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