Village Emergency Telephone System

Hidden in the report from last month’s Staverton Parish council meeting was an explanation of the role of a VETS system in the community.

VETS stands for VillageEmergency Telephone System and is a back up to the installation of the defibrillators in both village centres and can be invaluable in any emergency situation.

Sadly, when a crisis occurs there is often only one other person present when catastrophe strikes. It is impossible for that person to do more than call for help – phoning 999 and then helping the victim. If the defibrillator is needed then someone else has to fetch it and precious time can be lost trying to find someone to do that vital task.

The VETS system requires a list of eight to ten volunteers who are happy for their phone numbers to be put onto the system. The village (and every villager) is then given a single phone number to call in an emergency – when rung the phone will ring in each of the volunteer’s home at the same time. If the first person answering cannot do it the phones keep ringing until someone accepts the mission and then by accepting the call they then stop the phones ringing at the other volunteer’s houses.

By accepting the call the volunteer takes on the responsibility for getting the defibrillator to the home of the affected person.

There are some obvious difficulties in a large rural parish –

  • Distances may well require driving to the person’s home.
  • Keeping the VETS phone number somewhere prominent and available
  • Getting enough volunteers to make the system work
  • The system only works with landline phones
  • Cost – £90 setup and £200 a year running costs

If anyone would like further information and particularly if they would be prepared to take on the responsibility of being a “VETS” volunteer please get in touch with Michael Loverock on 01803 762677 or

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