By Richard Edwards
14th November 2022
Santa hasn’t even thought about loading up his sleigh, but that hasn’t stopped the Cricket Club Charity from coming up with the best present that any cricket club could wish for. Quite simply, as Robbie Book, one of the charity’s trustees, puts it, ‘this is the best deal in sport’.
It’s hard to argue with that. Book, you see, has been instrumental in striking a deal that, starting this month, will make defibrillators available to clubs in England and Wales for just £200, plus an annual charge of £151.20. That’s a scarcely believable saving of £1500 on any comparable offer.
Little wonder there’s a tangible sense of excitement in the air – because if your cricket club hasn’t yet invested in a defib, then there’s never been a better time to do so.
“This is an investment in a piece of kit that you hope you’ll never have to use,” says Vickie Joskow, office manager at the Community Heartbeat Trust, the Charity’s partners and suppliers, “But if you ever do need it, it will prove to be the wisest investment your cricket club ever made.”
How many cricket clubs currently have this life saving piece of kit is unclear. But there are plenty of up and down the country who have taken advantage of similar offers in the past. None has any cause to regret the outlay. (See the new map on www.theclubcricketcharity/defibmap )
“The offer is based on the “Management Solution” provided only by The Club Cricket Charity in partnership with the ECB,” says Book. “The scheme is based on a lease agreement over 4 years with 3 annual maintenance payments of £151.20
“Our aim is to provide cricket clubs throughout England and Wales with portable defibrillators. The new offer is to try to ensure that the uptake is accelerated before the beginning of 2023 cricket season.
“It is the cheapest and most effective system of insuring members and players from death by sudden cardiac arrest”
The statistics from the Community Heartbeat Trust should be sufficient to persuade any club still undecided on whether to part with their cash.
“We help to look after 8000 sites and we’re having at least 65 deployments a week currently,” says Joskow. “And they’re only the ones that we know about.
“That’s an incredible number. Over the course of the year, you’re talking over 3000 and that figure is only going up. It’s ever-increasing and part of that is down to people’s increasing awareness of defibrillators.”
Part of that increased awareness is down to high profile cases such as that of Christian Eriksen, the Danish forward who collapsed in his country’s European Championship clash with Finland last summer
“It helped in the sense that it brought into the general public view cardiac arrest and the role of defibrillators – it highlighted those two things and we were pretty much inundated with calls and emails as a result,” she says.
“A lot of them were from people who had gone along to check the defib because they knew they had one somewhere. One example was a rowing club, where everything had run out on it five years ago. We told them we would get it up and running again and we put them on our system so they could record regular checks.
“Whether that has continued we don’t know, because people tend to lose focus after a period of time.”
The defib alone, though, is not the only tool in the armoury of those volunteers who are aware of their importance. Training is also critical.
“When people are trained in things, a refresher course is recommended every three years,” says Joskow.
“We recommend for our villages and groups to maybe hold an awareness session every year because people move in and out of the village or new members join the club.
“We will always provide an awareness session as part of our involvement with the CCC Charity, to encourage people to use the defib, learn CPR and even learn things like how to call 999 because a lot of people have never done It.
“If you try and access a defib with a code on the cabinet, don’t ask the operator for the code, ask the ambulance – then you’ll have to answer ‘is the patient conscious? Is the patient breathing? If the answer to those two questions is no and no, then the defib pops up on the chat for the ambulance to deploy.”
Maintaining the defibs is also key, with the charity recommending that vigilant checks are maintained on perhaps the most valuable piece of equipment any club owns. Failure to do so could have devastating consequences.
“It isn’t about just putting them out there but also ensuring that they continue working,” she says. “They can lose their shininess quite quickly. For every club that we send a defib to, I phone them and have a conversation with them.
“Part of our agreement is that they do a weekly check and submit it online. We’ll try all kinds of routes just to make sure that we’ve got confidence that the machine is actually functioning.
“We’ve actually said that if those defibs are stored in an unheated building, then we would advise people to take it home with them, so it’s kept in a heated property.
“It’s an expensive piece of kit but when you have a successful rescue it generates a very good feeling.
“The worst thing would be going to use the defib but finding that it hasn’t been properly maintained and is no longer working. That’s terrible for a family – you think you’ve got that safety net there, but through a lack of care it can’t do the job it’s there to do.”
So, there we go folks. If cost was a barrier to getting a defib in the past, then that excuse is no longer valid. Keeping players, officials and spectators safe at your ground has never been so affordable. And, let’s face it, the peace of mind that having a defib bring, is something you simply can’t put a price on.