A review of the provision of defibrillators across the borough is to be carried out by Mid & East Antrim Council to ensure enough of the potentially life-saving devices are available locally for citizens.
The proposal to do so was contained in a Notice of Motion presented to Monday night’s’ monthly meeting of the local authority by SF Councillor Paul Maguire which received the unanimous backing of members.
It read: “That this Council agrees to review and, where appropriate, remedy its provision of defibrillators across its entire public estate to ensure no gaps exist in adequate service provision”.
Cllr Maguire also called on Council to develop a programme of training in CPR and defibrillator use for its staff who have daily contact with the public.
He suggested that through it’s Community Planning Committee Council could bring together charities, relevant campaign groups and other key stakeholders “to shape an action plan” for adequate provision of publicly accessed defibrillators in towns, villages and areas of high footfall or population.
He said: “Each year within the north, 1,400 people suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest.
“The current survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrest is 7.5%. Research has shown that using a defibrillator in conjunction with administering CPR can increase the survival rate to over 70% whilst allowing time for first responders or paramedics to arrive on the scene.
“I wish to commend the great work that has and is being done locally within community and voluntary organisations, sports clubs, the Lowry family in Ahoghill and some businesses around providing AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators),” said Cllr Maguire.
He concluded: “I am seeking that this council through the leadership of the Mayor and Community Planning engage with all the relevant stakeholders and local groups to see how we can maximise the amount of defibrillators accessible to our constituents in their hour of need.”
Supporting his motion and echoing his praise for “the great work already being done” in the borough with regard to defibrillator provision and training, fellow SF Councillor Patrice Hardy said: “The more defibrillators we have, the more lives we will save”.
Also readilly backing the motion was Cllr May Beattie, SDLP Councillor Declan O’Loan who said he felt Council “should act...in harmony with the community”, and Cllr Lindsay Millar who thanked Cllr Maguire for proposing his Motion.
Deputy Mayor, TUV Councillor Timothy Gaston also gave it his support and paid tribute to the Ahoghill based Stephen Lowry Memorial Trust for donating eight defibrillators for use in the community.
Voicing his backing, SF Cllr James McKeown said he had personal experience of their life saving capabilities, adding: “Looking around this room, never say it will never happen to you”.