Big-hearted fireman plugs life-saving gaps across town

Just Regional
Jul 19, 2023 2 mins read

Firefighter Chris Baker knows that defibrillators can save lives – because he’s used them.

And now he has plugged the gaps in the network of vital machines located across Aylsham.

In recent months he has added eight new defibrillators to the previous three, which he reckons have saved at least five lives.

He has more in the pipeline and is then switching his focus to surrounding villages, plus all the fire stations in Norfolk.

Chris’s crusade was sparked last October while taking part in a park run at Blickling Hall, where a man collapsed and needed life-saving help.

“The run was stopped so I went to the scene and helped with CPR and brought him round using a defib – then began thinking about where they were located in town,” he explained.

“There were only three – at the Town Hall, fire station and the Recreation Ground – so I looked at sites where we needed more.”

Three were donated by the Norfolk based Heart2Heart charity, but the rest were provided by businesses and building owners. There are now units at the high school, Budgens, Blickling Hall café, ACT Centre, Aylsham Garden Centre on Norwich Road, Friendship Hall on Mill Road and Broadland Autocare on Cromer Road, as well as both ends of the industrial estate.

While the main costs have been covered by commercial sponsors, Chris also raises funds to help pay for consumables such as pads and batteries. He checks all the units every week.

“I get email alerts each time one is used, and they have all been used a couple of times. If they save one life it is worth it, but they have probably saved five since November,” said Chris, from Holman Road.

He is a fire and survival instructor at Petans on Norwich airport, as well as a full-time firefighter based at Great Yarmouth and on-call fireman at Aylsham, where he is also manager of the town’s U-16s football team, and welfare officer at the Aylsham Runners Club.

“I have been a fireman for 14 years and get a lot of satisfaction from saving lives,” added Chris. People can donate towards Chris’s campaign by emailing him at

SAVING LIVES: Chris Baker with one of Aylsham’s defibrillators

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