A ground-breaking new initiative was launched by Monaghan Joint Policing Committee today, in conjunction with the National Ambulance Service. The two organisations have joined forces with the intention of to ensuring that every publicly accessible defibrillator in the county is registered with the NAS.
It is a fact that many businesses and voluntary groups which provide a defibrillator do not think to let the Ambulance Service know of its location. Sadly, lives have been lost in Co. Monaghan by people going into cardiac arrest whilst waiting on an ambulance, whilst unknownst to the caller or the call-taker in the Ambulance Service, there was a defibrillator available as little as 50 metres from the home.
The purpose of the initiative which was launched today was to put the call out to everyone who cares for a defibrillator (also known as AED’s) in Co. Monaghan to log on to Monaghan County Council’s website and complete a defibrillator location survey. People are being asked to provide an Eircode for the location of the AED, or the closest building to the AED, so that the National Ambulance Service’s mapping system can plot the AED on an interactive map.
When a member of the public calls 999/ 112, the first thing they are asked to provide is the Eircode of their location. When the operator types this in to the computer, every AED within a 1km radius of that address will be shown on their screen, along with other important details, like whether the AED is accessible only during business hours, the code which is needed to open the cabinet an AED is being kept in, whether the AED can be used on a child, and the contact details for the person who should be notified that the AED has been brought to an emergency call-out and may now need to have pads or battery replaced so that it is ready for the next time it is needed.
All this information helps the operator to point the caller towards the most suitable AED for their emergency type, and also helps to ensure that the AED is returned to its previous position, ready to be used again.
In addition to passing the information on the location of the AED’s on to the National Ambulance Service, the Joint Policing Committee is asking AED custodians to provide details on the age and model of AEDs under their care, in preparation for a possible collaborative project to support custodians with the cost of replacing older units and replacing out of date and used pads and batteries.
The JPC also hopes to use the location information to get a picture of the coverage of the county with AED’s and to look for areas which are not being adequately covered at the moment, again with a view to a future project to address this need.
There is also space on the AED survey for custodians to supply information about the level of CPR training in their area. It is a fact that you are more likely to use CPR on someone you know than on a stranger.
Carol Lambe, Community Development Officer with Monaghan County Council, speaking at the project launch this morning, said, “I once had the honour of meeting the leaders of the Killanny CPR group, who have a goal of having at least one person in every household trained in CPR. One thing that JB said that day to me has stuck with me: a defibrillator can restart a heart, but unless you perform CPR and keep oxygen going to the brain, your loved one may not thank you for bringing them back, to be a shadow of the person they once were.”
Liam Stewart, Community Engagement Officer with the National Ambulance Service, said that the HSE considers CPR to be so important, especially in a rural county such as Monaghan, that it is building objectives around CPR training into its service delivery plan. His colleague Yvonne Murnaghan, who is well known for her work with Monaghan-based Community First Responder groups, also welcomed the JPC’s new initiative, and encouraged the public to seek out the HSE’s ‘CPR for Family & Friends’ training module, which goes through the basics of CPR and defibrillator training in one. Saving a loved one’s life is surely well worth an hour of your time.
If you are in charge of caring for a defibrillator, please visit Monaghan County Council’s website to complete the defibrillator location survey. You should do this whether or not the AED is already registered with the NAS, as completing the survey will provide the JPC with your contact information, ensuring that you are included in any future projects the JPC develops around AED’s and CPR.
To access the Survey, visit https://documents.monaghancoco.ie/Forms/Defib2021