A SOUTH Tyneside nurse is calling for more businesses to take part in his potentially life-saving scheme.
Phil Brown assisted a pensioner who collapsed at the Masonic Hall in South Shields, on Thursday, at about 9.10pm.
While the ambulance took 40 minutes to arrive, the man benefited from Mr Brown’s “Red Box Red Blanket” initiative, which sees businesses having a warm blanket on hand in case of an emergency.
The 59–year–old, a senior nurse based at St Nicholas Hospital, in Newcastle, said: “There was quite a delay for the ambulance to arrive, and the man was on the floor, but thankfully the Masonic Hall had a Red Box, so the blanket was used to keep him warm.
“For just a small amount of cash these can potentially save lives, prevent hyperthermia and reverse the effects of shock. I am hoping more businesses will get involved.
“The gentleman had come to after he collapsed, but I still think a 40-minute wait for an ambulance is not acceptable.
“I am aware there are all sorts of cutbacks and stresses on the service, but we’re talking about people’s lives here.”
Mr Brown attended South Tyneside District Hospital with the man, who had collapsed due to problems with anaemia, before being released a few hours later.
So far, 10 of Mr Brown’s boxes, which cost £20, have been placed in shops and businesses across the town.
Last month a woman benefited from one at a shop in Harton Nook, South Shields, after she fell and broke her arm.
Mr Brown, from Leafield Crescent, South Shields, said: “There is a need for them, they are useful and shops have had to put them into action already.
“When people collapse, especially those who suffer from heart attacks and strokes, there’s only a golden window of opportunity for them to have their lives saved.
“I have purchased a number of the boxes out of my own funds, but I can’t keep shelling out, so I am hoping people will realise just how important they are and they will want to get in touch to buy their own.
“The gentleman who collapsed at the hall has said that he would now like to fund a box, since he benefitted from one of the blankets.”
A spokesperson from the North East Ambulance Service added: “We have received a complaint and we are currently looking in to the matter.”
If you would like to buy a Red Box to store at your business, of if you would like to help buy one, call the Gazette on 427 4868.