Lifesaving defibrillators to be placed in five Belfast public parks
Defibrillators are to be installed at five parks across Belfast to give heart attack victims a better chance of survival.
The machines are designed to be used in the critical first moments of an emergency by members of the public who have no prior training.
The automatic external defibrilators (AEDs) will be placed in Victoria Park, Waterworks Park, Boucher Road Playing Fields, Tullycarnet Park and Fullerton Park.
The AEDs tell users exactly what to do when released from their holding cabinets.
To access the machines users will need to call 999 emergency operators - who will judge if a defibrillator is necessary - for a release code.
The new measure was introduced following a proposal by Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Matt Garrett.
Declan Boyle of the SDLP, chair of the council's strategic policy and resources committee, which funded the defibrillators, joined Mr Garrett at Boucher Road to highlight the new equipment.
Mr Boyle said: "Defibrillation is an important link in improving a person's chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. While we already have some on sites such as the City Hall and leisure centres, we are happy to extend their reach.
"AEDs are portable electronic devices that diagnose life-threatening sudden cardiac arrest and are able to treat them through defibrillation - immediately improving the chance of survival of that individual.
"This is exactly the right time to roll them out into parks when better weather increases the footfall. If they help in saving even one person's life they are worth it."
Mr Garrett said: "Portable defibrillators were invented in Belfast by cardiologist Professor Frank Pantridge to help medical staff save lives. So it is very fitting now that we are placing public access defibrillators in parks in the city where they were invented, and that they can now be used by those without medical skills to save lives."
The defibrillators have also been provided to mobile park wardens and Safer Neighbourhood Officer teams. "While trained council staff are available at all sites where the defibrillators are placed, it is reassuring for members of the public to know that they can use these devices without any specific training," added Mr Garrett.
More information on how to access the defibrillators is available at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/defibrillators