Virgin Media O2 has rolled out defibrillators to all company owned stores across the UK – greatly increasing access to life-saving equipment on hundreds of High Streets in partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
More than 200 defibrillators are now available and Virgin Media O2 is in the process of registering them on BHF’s National Defibrillator Network, The Circuit, meaning 999 call handlers will be able to quickly direct people to nearby stores in an emergency.
Across the week (19th Jan – 26th Jan), the business will be raising awareness and urging more people to learn CPR on screens outside O2 stores nationwide – expected to be seen by millions of UK shoppers.
Alongside the roll out, 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.
Brenda Edwards, television personality whose family has had experience of 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.
With every minute without access to CPR and defibrillation reducing the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent, she urged more people to take the time to learn these live saving skills in case they are ever needed.
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 is 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.”
Zero-rated apps to support customers and the NHS
Despite more than 64% of people knowing someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest and 90% agreeing it’s important to help as best you can in this situation, just 19% have had CPR training in the last year and only 21% would feel confident using a defibrillator.
To help make learning CPR more accessible than ever, O2 has zero-rated data charges for the BHF’s website, meaning customers can access the charity’s free, interactive 15-minute CPR training progamme, RevivR – as well as helpful information, advice and videos – without using any of their mobile data allowance.
This is in addition to O2 zero-rating the NHS GoodSAM app – which is used to alert nearby first responders when someone is suffering a cardiac arrest – so they can start CPR in the critical minutes before emergency services arrive at the scene.
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.”
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.
Together, the collaboration has brought more than 700 defibrillators closer to the public in stores or vans, and has already led to several lives being saved.
Notes to Eds
The research was carried out online by Research Without Barriers – RWB. All surveys were conducted between 6h January 2023 and 9th January 2023. The sample comprised 2,012 UK adults.