A COUNCILLOR has suggested that the local fire services could check the AEDs (automated external defibrillators) across the county because no one organisation is responsible for them.
Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) raised the motion at a recent meeting of the local authority and said that a defibrillator battery needs to be replaced every three to five years and that the electrode pads have a shelflife of two to three years.
‘When a local community or sports group buys and inputs an AED, it is this volunteer group that is responsible for maintaining and servicing it. However, volunteers come and go and a percentage of AEDs are not being serviced and maintained properly,’ said Cllr Buckley.
‘I brought it up a recent HSE meeting and the ambulance service agrees with me and they also agree with me that the AEDs are not being registered so that there is no standardisation.’
Cllr Buckley said she wasn’t happy with the Council response and said all she is asking is for the retained fire service personnel to check that the defibrillators are registered with the ambulance service and also that names and numbers of volunteers are listed on the box.
‘I’m not asking the retained firefighters to maintain them. It’s a simple task and I just don’t understand why Cork County Council won’t agree to it. I don’t care who does it, but someone has to do it,’ she added.
Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) said she had previously asked for an awareness campaign so that people would know where their nearest defibrillators are and she wanted the Council to put a list of them up on their website.
‘Our own Macroom Municipal District are already compiling a list and it’s very important each defibrillator is registered with the ambulance service and it’s not a difficult thing to do,’ said Cllr Moynihan.
‘I’m asking again for the Council to put in place an awareness campaign as they are an extremely important piece of machinery and some people are afraid to use them but it actually tells you what to do.’
She also asked the Council to write to the Department in relation to a cardiac out of hospital steering group who were due to report into this issue.
Deputy chief executive Aidan Fogarty said that the Council doesn’t know where all the defibrillators are located and suggested that conditions should be attached to any new grants being allocated for the machines, whereby people or groups inspect them and change the batteries every three or four years.
He said that the Council could write to the HSE to seek a meeting with them to clarify the situation.
Cllr Buckley agreed to the proposal and said that going forward all AEDs need to be registered with ambulance services and said that she found it ‘quite frightening’ only after carrying out research on the matter.