Several Spar outlets in Belgium have installed automated external defibrillators (AED) in their stores, as part of a move to make such life-saving devices more widely available.
Spar Aalter, Spar Denderwindeke, Spar Gembloux and Spar Wijgmaal have all installed the devices, which were jointly financed by shoppers and store owners, with customers given the option of donating a certain portion of their purchases, or 'rounding up' their purchase amount.
“The inspiration for this action came from Spar Ireland, where a similar initiative was a great success,” commented Guido Soret, sales director of the Spar Colruyt Group in Belgium.
The devices will be located outside the stores, and will be accessible day and night, seven days a week, to all local residents.
Following the initial test period, this initiative will be expanded to other Spar Colruyt Group stores across Belgium.
In Belgium, approximately 9,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest every year, with 17% to 30% of incidents occurring in a public place, according to the federal Healthcare Knowledge Centre.
The use of an automatic AED increases the chance of survival for an individual suffering such an incident.
The independent entrepreneurs of the Spar stores involved, financed half of the purchase amount of each device.
“Spar is a real neighbourhood supermarket. By financing half of the purchase amount of the AED device, the independent entrepreneur gives something back to his customers,” Soret added.
“Despite the [COVID-19 pandemic] period, customers spontaneously asked us to contribute to this action,” said Anne-Sophie Van Laecke of Spar Aalter.
Additional proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.