CFR Ireland is calling for cross party support for the Life Saving Equipment Bill 2018 which would impose a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment or a €50,000 fine or both for those convicted of interfering with a defibrillator or life buoy.
CFRs and other voluntary groups around the country have fundraised to purchase and install these lifesaving devices.
Dr David Menzies, Medical Director of CFR Ireland said:
“Damage to, or theft of a defibrillator installed for public use could be a death sentence for a patient if it were not available for a patient in cardiac arrest as a result. It is that serious. Locking up AEDs isn’t the ideal solution – you wouldn’t lock up a fire extinguisher.”
In the event of a cardiac arrest, CPR and defibrillation within the first 10 minutes is the most important intervention. The patient’s chances of survival drop by 10% for every minute, treatment is delayed. There are estimated to be over 13,000 AEDs in Ireland.
John Fitzgerald, Chair of CFR Ireland said:
“CFR Ireland believes that strict penalties should apply to those guilty of theft of or damage to life saving devices such as defibrillators. The issue of defibrillator theft and damage is not new, it is time for action. I would also appeal to those who stole the AEDS to return them. ”
Over the last number of weeks, there have been attacks on Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) and or their storage cabinets across the country.
1. Bus Eireann Depot Ballina, Co. Mayo
The defibrillator was stolen. This defibrillator is the property of Bus Eireann. It was placed for the benefit of the staff and visitors to Bus Eireann and the Ballina community. The local Order of Malta unit have donated a temporary replacement until a new AED can be purchased. The AED is protected by CCTV cameras. Footage of the incident has been given to the Gardai and an investigation is underway.
2. Woollen Mills – Blarney, Co. Cork
The thermostatic controlled storage cabinet was damaged. This AED was placed by Blarney Community First Responder. They have placed and manage a number of PADs in the Blarney area. Because of huge support in the Blarney community the cabinet is now repaired, and the AED is back in 24/7 service.
The AED is protected by CCTV cameras. Footage of the incident has been given to An Garda and an investigation is under way.
3. Sallynoggin Inn, Co. Dublin
The thermostatic controlled storage cabinet was damaged. The Dalkey Community First Responders have placed and managed a number of PADs in the Dalkey and surrounding area. Because of huge support in the community and a donation from a local businessman, the cabinet is now repaired, and the AED is back in 24/7 service.
4. Dinn Ri – Tullow St., Co. Carlow
The thermostatic controlled storage cabinet was vandalised. This storage unit is funded by Carlow Town Community First Responders. Until it can be repaired, the defibrillator will be located at reception in Dinn Ri, taking a vital piece of life saving equipment out of the 24 hr public access domain. The AED is also protected by CCTV cameras. Footage of the incident has been given to An Garda and an investigation is under way.