Community First Responders Call for Cross Party Support of Strict Penalties for those who steal or damage Defibrillators

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. 

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