‘DON’T be frightened to use it’ was the message from Mayor of Milford Haven Yvonne Southwell as she unveiled a new defibrillator for the town hall on Tuesday.

Costing £2,000, the life-saving machine is one of two defibrillator units purchased by the town council, and is situated in the town hall car park.

It is hoped that, along with a second machine at CK’s supermarket in Hakin, it will help save lives in an emergency.

A code is needed to open the box, which can be obtained by phoning 999 and stating the unit’s location. The ambulance service will then stay on the line to help users operate the equipment.

Easy-to-use, the machine also talks users through the process, explaining where to place the two adhesive pads on a casualty’s chest.

It also has a digital read-out, so people who are hard of hearing can follow the instructions, and pictures illustrating the process.

Dillwyn Griffiths, of Pembrokeshire First Aid Training – who supplied the unit, said many people were scared to use defibrillators in case they harmed a casualty or something went wrong.

"You won't make the situation any worse," said Mr Griffiths.

Unlike the stressful ‘shock scenes’ in popular TV programmes, the machine assesses the person’s heart rate, and will only administer a shock if it is found to be irregular.

The Resuscitation Council UK said: “Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are designed to be used by members of the public, and are very effective at guiding the operator through the process of administering the shock.”

Mayor Cllr Yvonne Southwell said: “I’m very pleased to see we have an easy-to-access defibrillator to use in the town, complementing the one we already have in Hakin.

“I want to reiterate that people shouldn’t be frightened to use it if necessary and I hope the town council can help buy more of these life-saving machines in future.”

According to the Welsh Ambulance Service, there are 120,000 deaths from Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA) every year in the UK.

Defibrillators work by delivering a shock of 360 joules to return the heart to a normal rhythm.

If delivered within 3 minutes, the chance of survival can increase to 74 per cent.

This latest unit takes the total machines in Milford Haven to seven, with the other six located at Spar, Charles Street; Tesco; Dragon LNG, Waterston; Pembrokeshire College Mitec centre; Milford Marina, and Milford Haven leisure centre.