As part of a £15m station improvement programme, life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) will be fitted in Fishbourne, Nutbourne and Southbourne.
It is the biggest roll-out on the UK rail network, with Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink fitting the devices to every one of their 238 stations
Ahead of Restart A Heart Day on Friday (October 16), a station assistant has already used one of the devices to save a passenger’s life between Knebworth and Harringay.
The final 12 stations to have AEDs fitted by the end of October are: Aldrington, Ashtead, Bedford, Crawley, Faygate, Fishbourne, Harringay, Nutbourne, Ore, Southbourne, Southease and Warblington.
Sam Facey, the head of Zero Harm in the safety and health team at parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), said: “By fitting these life-saving AEDs, we believe we’ve made a genuinely positive contribution to the communities across our vast network, which covers London and nine counties.
“All our defibrillators are publicly accessible, so of huge benefit not only to those travelling with us but also the communities we serve. They’re fully automatic – anyone can use them – and our staff are being given familiarisation training.”
Sussex Heart Charity, and other organisations, supplied many of the original AEDs but the network has now been 'massively extended and upgraded' with more defibrillators.
According to GTR, more than 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrest out of hospital across the UK every year and fewer than one in ten survive.
However, early chest compressions (CPR) and defibrillation can double the chances of surviving.
The AEDs are ‘smart’, giving verbal instructions and then shocking a patient only if they need it. They also use remote monitoring to sound the alert on dying batteries or out-of-date chest pads and all the cabinets are being wired in – to keep them warm and ready to go.
Mr Facey added: “We’re fitting the same model across our network to provide consistency of quality, staff familiarity and maintenance, and at some stations, where we were updating an existing AED, we’ve been able to return the original device to local charities for use at a second location in the community.”
In an emergency, 999 operatives will shortly know the location of every AED and will direct people to them if they are close enough.
Malcolm Legg, South East Coast Ambulance Service's community resilience lead said: “SECAmb is delighted GTR is installing such a significant number of defibrillators at its stations. Public access defibrillators are vital life-saving pieces of equipment which everyone should feel confident in using.
“Our call takers will help talk people through what to do if someone requires resuscitation. In this week of Restart A Heart Day, I would encourage everyone to learn CPR. It’s never too late to learn how to save a life.”
Sue Hampshire, director of clinical and service development at Resuscitation Council UK, said it is important that people can access defibrillators in busy areas, 'where they are likely to be needed'.
She added: "The installation of defibrillators at all Govia Thameslink stations is a fantastic move, and we encourage passengers and the wider community to develop the skills and confidence to use these lifesaving machines.
“Restart a Heart is all about getting hands on and learning essential skills in CPR and defibrillation, and we’d encourage everyone to get involved so they can help someone if they collapse and stop breathing.
"Learn more about how to get hands on with Restart a Heart at resus.org.uk/rsah.”