The Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) Defibrillator Project has been recognised by the Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society for its ongoing scheme to award people who save lives at sea and ashore. A certificate of commendation has been awarded to SHS, who launched the project in May 2023 and will provide and install 20 defibrillators in ports and seafarer centres across the UK.
Sandra Welch, CEO of the Seafarers Hospital Society, said, “We are so proud to be recognised for our efforts to prevent heart-related fatalities in coastal regions. Through our SeaFit Programme and regular work with mariners, we have seen the growing need for resources that minimise loss in the seafaring community. Installing the defibrillators is just one way we can increase access to healthcare and support the heart health of seafarers.”
The Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society trustee, Steven Jones, said: “We wholeheartedly endorse the defibrillator initiative as a valuable and vital step to help reduce heart-related mortality. The work that the Seafarers Hospital Society is doing to promote safety at sea is commendable and we thank them for protecting the livelihood of seafarers. We are already seeing the benefits of this project in our own community where defibrillators were placed with the Liverpool Seafarers Centre and the port.”
SHS launched the Defibrillator Project earlier this year with money provided by the UK Department for Transport through the Merchant Navy Welfare Board. The initiative, which builds on the success of a pilot study undertaken by SHS and the NHS in 2022, aims to install 20 Lifeline Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in ports and seafarer facilities around the UK by the end of 2023.
AED treatment with a life-saving shock increases a person’s chances of survival in the case of a heart attack. They are small and portable, require minimal upkeep, and may be kept over extended periods of time. SHS has specially selected AEDs that may be used safely and successfully without prior training.
Alongside the installation of the defibrillators, SHS expanded its heart health campaign and held a webinar titled ‘Your Heart Matters!’ during British Heart Week. The content provided information to seafarers about cardiovascular diseases and the benefits of healthy living.
Over the last 200 years, SHS has been working to assist seafarers with healthcare and empower them to make good decisions on their wellbeing. It offers a variety of free informational resources in areas such as dental health, physiotherapy, and mental health. Heart health adds to the growing toolkit of healthcare support that seafarers can access on the SHS website.