A READING workplace has been provided with a new defibrillator as part of the company's commitment to customer and staff welfare.

Selco Builders Warehouse will have the new equipment installed in its branches on Portman Road in the run-up to Christmas.

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It forms part of a programme for all Selco's 67 branches, as well as its Support Centre and Edmonton Delivery Hub, to house defibrillators.

Chief executive Howard Luft said the company was acting in a responsible manner by enhancing the survival chances of anyone who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest on Selco premises.

He said: "We have five million individual customer visits annually and more than 3,000 staff so, when you are dealing with that number, there is a chance that incidents around unexpected cardiac arrests can happen.

"By Christmas we will be in a position where we can respond to such a situation immediately and all the statistics suggest that being able to administer effective treatment quickly can be the difference between life and death.

"It is imperative that the business makes this investment and, even if we save one life over time, it's money very well spent."

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In the UK, there are around 30,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests, and more than 90 per cent of those people will die without immediate treatment.

Survival chances increase significantly if a shock is delivered within three to five minutes of collapse.

Kerry Fairhurst, marketing manager for defibshop.co.uk, which Selco purchased the equipment from, said: "We applaud the measures Selco have taken and we encourage other businesses to follow suit.

"Research shows that more than 52 per cent of businesses have never considered purchasing a defib which is alarming because many of those will be customer-facing.

"Selco have been very proactive in their approach and the business is certainly well-prepared should any incidents happen in branches or their headquarters in the future."