The recent dramatic saving of a customer’s life by CPR staff in Portarlington Leisure Centre, has highlighted the need for a publically available defibrillator in the town.
Now a joint project by the PCDA / Love Port team, the Lions Club, the Primary Healthcare Clinic and Portarlington Credit Union, has brought that hope close to reality.
Two defibrillators have been donated by the Credit Union, one including its expensive tamperproof box, giving the group a ‘jump start’ to their plans.
Now all that is needed is a trained team to use the machines, and Margaret Guijt Lalor from the Love Port group says they have had huge interest already from the public.
“This would be a structured group, Port First Responders, set up to be on call. We have had more than twenty people put their names down but more are welcome. They will be given free training by our brilliant local paramedic, Dave Lanigan, and hopefully we will be up and running in the next month,” she said.
The schemes are running successfully in other towns around Ireland. When someone rings 999, the emergency service will contact not just the ambulance service, but the First Responder contact, who will send out a group text message alerting any trained responder within distance to respond.
“They can start the initial life saving CPR and defibrillator use until the ambulance get there,” explains Margaret.
Just one in 16 people survive a serious cardiac arrest, or 7 per cent, if they are treated within ten minutes of an attack.
Anyone can volunteer for training, as long as they are over 18 years of age, and available in an emergency.
Despite the donation of defib machines, there is still a cost.
“We will need a box for the second defibrillator, a first aid bag, and other equipment. Any club who contributes will get their staff trained up in return,” she says.
The campaign is supported by Portarlington Leisure Centre, who have offered the use of their training room and equipment.
“Port needs a defibrillator outside of our centre. To try and go find one, you only get five or ten minutes, they make all the difference,” said Pam Quirke, CPR trainer.
Anyone interested can contact the Love Port office in Oriel House or call 085 8568801.