‘Defibrillators should be installed in all public buildings’ – McKevitt

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Community, Politics
During a motion at the Assembly this week SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt called for defibrillators to be installed in all public buildings across Northern Ireland.
SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt

SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt

Karen has been involved with this cause for several years now after losing her father to a heart attack when he was just 47 years old. McKevitt told Newry Times, “When my father died, my brother tried to save him using CPR. I always wondered if I would have had the strength to do what he did. And since then I have wanted to try to prevent other people from going through the same tragedy that my family experienced. “That is why I am committed to persuading the Assembly to support my amendment to work towards installing defibrillators in public buildings across the North. “Ultimately I feel very strongly that these life saving devices should be viewed as being just as essential in buildings as fire extinguishers. If you suffer a cardiac attack outside of a hospital, you have a 7.5% chance of survival. “There are 1,400 such incidents every year in Northern Ireland. However research proves that using a defibrillator along with CPR can increase survival rates to over 70% while also allowing time for the paramedics to arrive on scene,” she continued. Defibtech Lifeline AED(R) Chosen For 2006 Winter Olympic Games“There are thought to be over 1,000 Automated External Defibrillator machines available outside of hospitals here. However, there is no comprehensive record of who has an AED machine, where the machines are located, who has access to them, who is trained to use them or whether they are regularly maintained. “I am currently working with Newry, Mourne and Down Council to install a portable Automated External Defibrillator at Council owned sporting grounds in the South Down Constituency, particularly the Derryleckagh playing fields where one young life has already been lost to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. “Indeed my own son has seen three people die from cardiac arrests on GAA fields. I was with him when Mickey Cole died as he refereed a game in Ballyholland,” she added.
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