Mid and East Antrim Council working to identify gaps in defibrillator coverage

Mid and East Antrim council is to establish a working group to identify gaps in provision of defibrillators in the borough.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 1:10 pm

The local authority is intending to establish a Community Resuscitation Strategy with the aim of increasing survival rates for those who suffer cardiac arrest.

A draft plan is to be brought before the council’s Direct Services Committee in three months.

Speaking at Tuesday’s committee meeting, Bannside DUP Alderman Tommy Nicholl  proposed councillors agree to developing a strategy which would give priority to CPR training.

The proposal was seconded by Coast Road Sinn Fein Councillor James McKeown.

Councillors have been told that a strategy will seek to improve public awareness of the importance of early intervention and confidence to intervene as well as access to and uptake of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training.

The availability of and access to defibrilators has also been highlighted.

A defibrillator is a portable life-saving device that can give a casualty’s heart an electric shock when it has stopped beating normally in a sudden cardiac arrest.

An officer’s report to Mid and East Antrim councillors acknowledges that “issues have been highlighted in relation to MEA funding defibrillators, significant maintenance and replacement costs and sporadic coverage”.

“The plan could address these through a review of the current grant scheme and up-to-date survey of defibrillator locations,” the report stated.

St John Ambulance believes defibrillators should be made as accessible as possible to ensure they can be accessed quickly in an emergency.

St John Ambulance says: “Early defibrillation before emergency services arrive can help double a person’s chances of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

However in the UK, defibrillation is received in less than one out of 10 cases.

Ruth McFaul, a St John Ambulance first aid trainer, said: “Having more people in the community trained who can respond to a medical emergencies by carrying out CPR and using an AED (defibrillator) would reduce the  amount of deaths and increase the survival rate of people having a cardiac arrest,

“It is the most important link in the chain of survival. Everyone should be trained in CPR and AED. ”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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Click here to read: Communities across Mid and East Antrim secure funding to install defibrillators

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