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Councillor Donna Mc Gettigan

Clare defibrillator registration ‘will save lives’

A CALL has been made to have as many defibrillators as possible registered with an award-winning app that tells people where the nearest one is located. 

Councillor Donna McGettigan tabled a motion at the December council meeting urging the authority to resister them with PulsePoint AED, a defibrillator location app, and to encourage community organisations to do the same.

“This is a one-touch button app that will tell you where your nearest defibrillator is,” she said.

“You don’t need to ring an ambulance. You don’t need to wait for them to get back to you to tell you where it is. You just do this at the touch of a button, so I really believe it will save lives the more places that they’re registered in.”

“This is a multi-award winning app. It’s got the Garda Community Safety Award. You don’t need to be a nurse or a doctor, you can find out where it is and get the help that’s needed.”

The motion was seconded by Councillor Mary Howard who noted a number of recent incidents where defibrillator had been used in Ennis. 

“This is a very good motion and any which way we can let people know that this is a defibrillator near them and that they are easy to use, is important,” she said.

“I work with a group involving the Civil Defence and the Red Cross trying to create awareness of where they are and getting them registered with the National Ambulance Services and equally on this app and once they are registered, the Red Cross will come in and service them.”

Councillor Ann Norton noted how prevalent cardiac issues are. “One of the scariest things now is that it is actually happening at all ages, it’s not the older generation,” she said.

“There’s a lot of younger people that are in need of devices like defibrillators… A huge amount of effort has gone in to try and have as many of them available within sports pitches, because people have realised, it’s not age anymore.”

Councillor Joe Killeen noted that there are apps available to tell motorists where the next service station is, and that the same things should apply to defibrillators. He noted that more needed to be done to make sure that they are accessible 24/7.

Councillor Cillian Murphy said there were efforts being made to ensure the Eircode of nearby defibrillators was made available at the county’s beaches. “This app will do that in a digital way,” he said, “but there’s no harm having an analogue back-up.”

Councillor Gerry Flynn urged that moves to have a paramedic unit attached to the fire station be ramped up. “I think this is something that needs to be looked at,” he said. “Certainly paramedics attached to fire stations could be an option.”

Councillor John Crowe supported the motion, saying there was evidence to suggest that the number of heart attacks happening at home is increasing. 

Responding to the motion, Chief Fire Officer Adrian Kelly noted the importance of phoning an ambulance as part of the response to emergency situations, including cardiac arrest. 

“The Fire Service and Civil Defence with the Rural and Community Development Department will research initiatives currently in place in the local authority sector, and present appropriate and tested options with the objective of ensuring that every publicly accessible defibrillator in the county is registered with the National Ambulance Service,” his written response said.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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