One of the most important factors in the survival of a cardiac arrest is the early us of a defibrillator. A defibrillator used by a trained person increases the survival rate from Sudden Cardiac Arrest by 50% if CPR and defibrillation occurs within the first four minutes of the incident. Survival rates diminish at a rate of 7 – 10 per cent for every minute thereafter.
While there has been a huge increase of defibrillators in Ireland over the past few years, (Estimates 8,000 to 10,000) their location is not always know, this means that there may be a defibrillator close to someone who needs it but it not utilized. During an incident time is of the essence, make sure you know where to find the closest lifesaving defibrillator.
Although there are a number of apps and registers to assist in finding defibrillators, such as: Save A Selfie and Staying Alive, we tested these from our office in Galway City and were unable to locate any defibrillators in our area. While a great idea, please don’t rely on these apps during an emergency.
Additionally, even if there is a defibrillator close by, there are many defibrillators around Ireland which are not being maintained and require corrective action. A study by the Health Information and Quality Assurance Authority (Hiqa) found instances of battery failure and inaccessible location of defibs. We recommend installing and maintaining a defibrillator in your own site, especially if you have large or high-risk workplace.
If installing your own defibrillator is not feasible, the best idea is to locate the defibrillators in your local area. Defibrillators can often be found at:
- Community centres
- Shopping centres
- Doctors surgeries
- Public buildings and spaces e.g. library, museums…
- Large businesses
- Sports clubs
- Churches and places of worship