Sports Northern Ireland and the Department for Communities have marked European ‘Restart a Heart’ day today (Tuesday 18th October) at the start of a joint initiative that will see 500 automated external defibrillator (AED) units allocated to local communities.

The ‘Defibrillators for Sport’ initiative aims to increase the number of AED devices available in community settings in support of the Department of Health’s Community Resuscitation Strategy. As well as receiving AED units, successful applicants will also be provided CPR and defibrillation training with sessions taking place across Northern Ireland over the coming months.

The initiative will also include a mapping exercise conducted in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to chart AEDs available at Northern Ireland sports clubs.

Discussing the initiative, Sport NI Chair Brian Delaney commented:

“Approximately 1,400 ‘out of hospital’ cardiac arrests take place in Northern Ireland each year. In these life-threatening situations, people can make a massive difference through the administration of basic life support and the safe use of AEDs. The ‘Defibrillators for Sport’ initiative is about increasing the number of AEDs units in our local sports clubs and community spaces. It’s also about making these devices easily locatable, and helping equip volunteers and community representatives with the confidence and skills to respond to incidents of cardiac arrest.”

“Sport Northern Ireland is delighted to be working in partnership with the Department of Communities to deliver this initiative, and with around 500 AEDs being allocated in the coming weeks, I am confident the initiative can help make a massive impact”.

Applications to the ‘Defibrillators for Sport’ closed in August 2016 and Sport Northern Ireland will be contacting all applicants in the coming weeks.