Research organised by Portlaoise man Mr Peter Naughton has led to the discovery of three times more defibrillators in Laois as first thought when the defibrillator database research first began.
It was first thought that there was around 41 registered defibrillators in the county, however there is actually up to 120.
Questions raised by the Laois Age Friendly Older People’s Forum led to research into how many defibrillators are in Laois, where they are and what hours they are available for public use.
The results of the research by Mr Naughton, Sheelagh Coyle, Derek Phelan and Seamus Moran were presented at a Laois Defibrillator Database Launch at County Hall on Thursday, August 2.
"My wife came across an incident in Portlaoise about eight months ago on the Main Street of someone having a transient ischemic attack after it was dealt with she asked me after 30 years of living in Portlaoise if I knew where I would get a defibrillator and I didn't know," Mr Naughton said.
While the huge number of defibrillators in the county was welcomed, research also found that Portlaoise, Stradbally and Emo do not have access to defibrillators outside of regular business opening hours in public areas.
Action has already been taken to change this with Msgr John Byrne in Portlaoise and Fr. Tom Dooley in Emo agreeing to move the church defibrillators outside.
Funding from a number of local councillors, the HSE and Portlaoise Lion’s Club will now be used to provide outside storage boxes for the defibrillators as well as ongoing training.
Work is also being done between Laois Age Friendly Forum and the National Ambulance Service to update the locations of defibrillators. Laois County Council is supporting the initiative going forward with the possibility of developing an app in future that will have a defibrillator locator map for Laois.
With 120 defibrillators in Laois at an average cost of €1500 each including the storage box, around €180,000 has been invested in defibrillators in the county.
Communities, clubs or businesses that have raised funds to get a defibrillator are now being urged to contact Colm Dunne at Portlaoise Lion’s Club or Portarlington Community First Responders group to bring people together and organise training for local people.
WATCH the video above where Derek Phelan gave a demonstration on how to use a defibrillator. He said training is essential, defibrillators only work alongside CPR and he urged any clubs or businesses who have a defibrillator to get proper training and have the defibrillator somewhere that is easily accessible.