Israel's Bezeq to convert public phones into defibrillator stations

A public phone booth that has been converted into a defibrillator station as part of a plan to replace thousands of phone booths with Bezeq Israel Telecom and the country's ambulance service, is seen in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 8, 2020. Ronen Topelberg / Bezeq Israel Telecommunications / Disclosure via REUTERS

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel's leading telephone company said on Wednesday it would collaborate with the country's ambulance service in replacing thousands of public phone booths with defibrillator stations.

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Bezeq Israel Telecom (BEZQ.TA) said that tens to hundreds of phone booths would be converted. So far, some have been transformed into bright yellow boxes that house defibrillators, which restore heart rate to normal, causing an electric shock.

The plan still needs final regulatory approval.

Bezeq has long tried to get rid of public telephones, which are hardly used but expensive to maintain.

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"Public telephones were part of us, but naturally with the advancement of technology they have become redundant and we are happy that they have been renewed" with the aim of saving lives, Bezeq said in a statement.

In the event of a heart attack, a viewer can call the number of emergency services and be directed to the nearest defibrillator stand while an ambulance is dispatched. The defibrillator is blocked and can only be opened with a code.

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Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen

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