Council officials are to be asked to conduct a detailed audit of the exact locations of defibrillators across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.
And, when complete, the council will be asked to partner with local schools, community organisations and sports clubs to ensure people are aware of their location – and how to use them.
SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon will make a formal request for the audit to be conducted as soon as possible.
“We are all too aware of the importance of the availability of defibrillators in incidents where someone has suffered a cardiac incident or heart attack,” he said.
“Over recent years there has been great efforts to have defibrillators rolled out across community, sporting and education facilities.
“I have asked senior council officials to carry out a detailed audit of where defibrillators are located across the council area, initially in council facilities but then widening the scope to include local community, sporting and educational facilities.
“On making initial enquiries about the issue, I was amazed to learn that the council hold no central database or maps of where defibrillators are located beyond our own facilities and, even at that, there are towns and villages where the council doesn’t own any facilities and are not aware if there is such equipment in those towns and villages.
“In many instances, local sporting clubs and community halls have defibrillators, as do some schools, and there is a campaign ongoing by some retail groups to provide them in local community shops.
“This is all excellent work, but if the locations of these lifesaving devices are not known then their use is limited.
“When an audit has been carried out, I want to see the council partner with local schools, community and sporting organisations in raising awareness of locations where defibrillators are available in local communities.
“It is also important that the provision of defibrillators is matched with appropriate training for volunteers who live and work in local communities.
“In recent months we have seen a Community First Responders scheme established in South Armagh which enables local volunteers to respond to emergencies in their locality whist waiting on an ambulance to arrive. These types of initiatives can and will save lives.”
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