UK’s Red Phone Booths Are Becoming Defibrillation Stations

Although the mix of England and phone booths likely makes you think of the TARDIS from Doctor Who, there’s a new, life-saving connotation for the combination. At least for folks actually living in the UK, anyway, as a nonprofit is now turning the iconic red telephone booths into defibrillation stations. YouTuber and programmer Tom Scott shows what’s going down with the transformation in a new video. And, frankly, for the defibrillator booths to work, citizens will need to become everyday heroes.

Laughing Squid picked up on Scott’s new video, which he recently posted to his channel. For those unfamiliar with the YouTuber, Scott likes to take a look at unique, random aspects of life through a scientific lens. Scott has previously explained the secrets of cinematic explosions, for example. As well as how a giant wall of lava lamps helps to protect the internet from cyber attacks.

In his video, Scott shows how the Community Heartbeat Trust, the leading organization for installing and maintaining defibrillator booths in the UK, performs one of its transformations; taking one of the classic phone booths and morphing it into a home for a life-saving medical device. As well as something that no longer looks like a prop out of 28 Days Later.

A man installing a defibrillator into a classic red telephone booth in England.

Tom Scott

Scott shows how the Trust is able to operate one of the phone booths for only around $7-14 a year. Which is, of course, a—shockingly—cheap price for the Trust to pay. (Something it’s able to achieve thanks to its ability to offset the cost of decommissioning one of the phone booths.) The YouTuber also shows how citizens need to operate the actual defibrillators, which is where things get tricky.

Anyone attempting to use the defibrillator—a device that restores a normal heartbeat using electrical shocks—needs to not only have someone performing CPR before they even initiate the process, but also strip bare from the waist up whoever is suffering from say, a heart attack, and properly place a pair of shock pads. Although it does seem the booths are far better than nothing at all. A lifeline certainly sounds more appealing than a landline, anyway.

YouTuber Tom Scott shows how to use a red telephone booth defibrillator on a dummy.

Tom Scott

Featured Image: Tom Scott

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