EQUIPMENT that could potentially save the lives of mourners attending funerals has been installed at Oxford Crematorium.

The operator which runs the home, Dignity, raised the funds through their charity partner, British Heart Foundation.

In the past four months, there has been two deaths at crematoria in the UK when visitors have suffered a heart attack when attending a funeral.

Crematorium Manager, Trish Smith, said: “Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around 10 per cent.

"We will always call an ambulance but wanted to do everything we possibly can to provide immediate help.

"Our partnership with British Heart Foundation has enabled us to purchase a defibrillator to be located at the crematorium for use during an emergency.”

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The crematorium conducts around 1,500 funerals each year.

Donna Stokes of British Heart Foundation supported the initiative by saying: “We thank Dignity for their commitment to the community and the money they have raised to fund life-saving research that helps keep more families together.

Defibrillators need to be available in areas of greatest risk – such as where crowds gather; a location where people are naturally anxious or under stress or possibly somewhere that an ambulance may take time to reach due to traffic congestion or distance from a hospital – so a crematorium meets all of these requirements.”

In addition to Oxford, another 45 crematoria operated by Dignity will have defibrillators installed by the end of June.