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Hitcham programmer develops software to help guide public to locations of emergency defibrillators in Suffolk




Hitcham. Simon Herbert, who runs a computer service business in Hitcham, is developing free-to-use web-based software, called Defibsearch, which helps direct people to the locations of all public access defibrillators in East Anglia.Picture by Mark Westley. (6530422)
Hitcham. Simon Herbert, who runs a computer service business in Hitcham, is developing free-to-use web-based software, called Defibsearch, which helps direct people to the locations of all public access defibrillators in East Anglia.Picture by Mark Westley. (6530422)

Looking for a way to help communities using modern technology, Suffolk programmer Simon Herbert set about finding the location of every public access defibrillator in the region.

After several months of work, Mr Herbert, of The Causeway in Hitcham, is now rolling out his free-to-use web-based software, known as defibsearch, which offers a map and navigation to more than 1,600 defibrillators in East Anglia and beyond.

The software combines the Google Maps Application Program Interface, an online location database and a html web page to create a route map to the nearest five defibrillators.

Rather than addresses and postcodes, it uses geographic co-ordinates, which Mr Herbert says will direct people to within inches of the defibrillator.

Although the system is still in the testing phase, he says his goal when it formally launches for public use is to help direct people towards life-saving equipment, in the event of an emergency.

“If it helps even one person, it will have been worth doing,” said Mr Herbert, who runs a computer service and repair business, IP7 Service.

“We have now got the power to do this in our mobile phones, so it seems silly not to take advantage of that.

“If you ring 999, they know where the defibrillators are, but they won’t always know exactly where you are.

“You never know, I might need a defibrillator one day. I wouldn’t want someone trying to help but not knowing where to go. I would want them to find it quickly.

“This needs to be used by as many people as possible. There’s no money in it for me. I built it for the community.”

He added the response from those who have tried out the software has been positive, and urged people to provide the locations of any defibrillators that have been omitted or any corrections.

To view the software, go to https://defibsearch.co.uk.



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