Sport Northern Ireland and the Department for Communities have marked Restart a Heart Day 2017 by presenting the 1000th free defibrillator being allocated under their joint Defibrillators for Sport initiative.
Defibrillators for Sport, which opened for applications in July 2016, aims to increase the number of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available in community settings by allocating free AED devices to sports clubs and community groups across Northern Ireland. Successful applicants have also been receiving free defibrillation training sessions on the safe usage and maintenance of their new devices.
The 1000th device to be distributed as part of the initiative was presented to Leo`s Boys and Girls Tug of War Club, Tyrone, during a defibrillation training session at Cookstown Leisure Centre.
Commenting on the milestone, Sport NI Chair George Lucas commented:
“Restart a Heart Day is all about helping to train and support people to learn the lifesaving skills that are vital in instances of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Sport NI is proud to be supporting this message with the Department for Communities through our Defibrillators for Sport initiative. Sports clubs play a vital role in local communities, not only as places where people can get active and involved in sport, but also as social hubs. This initiative has not only seen 1,000 defibrillators distributed across the eleven local councils, but has also provided training to members of the local sporting workforce so that they can use these new devices with confidence. Research suggests that people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have less than a one in ten chance of surviving – our aim is that, through this initiative, we can help to change this through the power of sport.”
Fergus Devitt, Director of Active Communities at the Department for Communities added:
“The Department is delighted to be involved in the Defibrillators for Sport initiative which has proven to be an excellent programme. It has delivered a significant increase in the number of AEDS available to communities across Northern Ireland as well as increasing the number of volunteers involved with sporting and community groups who are trained in CPR.
“Working in partnership with Sport NI, sports clubs, community groups and the NI Ambulance Service has been critical to the success of the programme and in ensuring that the right messages and training have been provided from the outset. A key component of the initiative was ensuring that the AEDs have been mapped on the Ambulance Service’s database.
“The programme has and will continue to save lives and the award of the 1000th AED this month, in conjunction with Restart a Heart day, is a fantastic milestone.”
The ‘Defibrillators for Sport’ is being delivered in support of the Department of Health’s Community Resuscitation Strategy, and will also include a mapping exercise conducted in partnership with the NI Ambulance Service to record the location of the allocated devices.
Pictured is Barry Gildernew, Leo’s Tug of War Club, Tyrone, Eileen Coulter, Defibrillator Trainer, Paul McCloskey, Cookstown District Station Commander and Conleth Donnelly, Sport NI and participants in the training session.