LIVES could be at risk as hundreds of life-saving defibrillators are believed to be hidden from the unwitting public.

At any given moment someone could be in vital need, yet Oxford city centre still has no 24/7 publicly accessible defibrillators.

A fresh call for action has come from retired ambulance commander and Oxfordshire’s Mr Defibrillator Dick Tracey over fears someone could die on the streets of Oxford not knowing a defibrillator is close by.

He said: “It is something I am really concerned about. Over the years we now how more than 550 defibs [in the county], a number which represents those people who have got defibrillators and registered them with South Central Ambulance Service.

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“But what we do know is there are other kits out there unregistered, [in places] including Oxford city centre where there are no publicly accessible defibs [recorded].

“Lots of people have been great in getting defibrillators but I am sure there are lots more in offices and shops which haven’t been registered with the ambulance service.

“It would be terrible if somebody died on the street, and a defibrillator was just the other side of the door.”

A Freedom of Information request from South Central Ambulance Service revealed Oxfordshire currently has 563 of the life-saving machines but not one of those are accessible to the public 24/7 in Oxford’s city centre.

This follows a campaign drive by Mr Tracey, backed by the Oxford Mail, in 2014 in a bid to get the pitiful 120 devices in Oxfordshire up to now 563.

But Mr Tracey believes hundreds more are going under the radar unregistered, and therefore are unable to be mapped by ambulance staff.

South Central Ambulance Service pinpoint all publicly accessible defibrillators in the county to ensure that if someone does call in an emergency, staff can direct the public to the nearest life-saving machine whilst paramedic crews are on their way.

It is Mr Tracey’s crusade for the public to never be more than 10 minutes from a defibrillator.

Mr Tracey added: “I would guess there is another couple of hundred out there [unregistered].

“I would encourage people to do exactly that and get them registered with the ambulance service."

In recent months, Mr Tracey has helped secure funding for a defibrillator to be installed at West Oxford Community Centre, the Hill End Centre off Eynsham Road, and in the pipeline is plans for a machine at Florence Park to allow for future park runs.

Mr Tracey said: "A Park Run condition is to have a defib. So we have a little more work to do at Florence Park but it is a great idea because not only will the defib save lives, but it enables lots of people to get out and do the park run and improve health."

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The retired commander said despite a lull in the campaign he continues to devote countless hours and commitment to bringing about more defibrillators for the county.

He said: "The initial campaign, with the support of the Oxford Mail, moved along quite quickly as everyone was very supportive and the campaign was in people's faces every week.

"When I left the service [SCAS] it stalled a little, but I am finding over the past year many more people are getting in touch for training - an average of four sessions a week - and it is starting to ignite interest again.

"Having 550+ defibs is a really good foundation but we do need to build on that to ensure that nobody is ever more than 10 minutes from a defibrillator."

To discuss defibrillator training or funding options for a life-saving machine contact

Or to register a defibrillator by contacting

Information at