Belfast Telegraph

Man's collapse sparks call for defibrillators in leisure centres

By Donna Deeney

Derry City Council is considering purchasing defibrillators for all its leisure centres after the collapse of a man in St Columb's Park last week.

The man is recovering in hospital after he fell ill at city leisure centre. While staff were able to administer first aid until an ambulance arrived without the help of a defibrillator, the incident highlighted the importance of the equipment in saving lives.

A spokesman for Derry City Council said all of its leisure centres have fully trained first -aid staff to assist in the event of any emergency.

He added, however: “The council continually monitors and reviews its first-aid equipment at all of its centres and is considering the installation of defibrillators.”

Many GAA clubs throughout the north west have already set a goal of providing this vital piece of emergency equipment at their sports grounds, sparked by the sudden death of Tyrone footballer Cormac McAnallen in 2004.

Speaking to the North West Telegraph, Michael McCracken, vice chairman of the Derry GAA County Board, said the association hopes to have a defibrilllator in all 42 of its clubs across the county before the next season.

He said: “Although there is a one in a million chance of a defibrillator being needed at a match, the GAA feels it is important to be prepared for that one time.

“The ethos of the GAA is to be a central part of the community and to provide the best service we can for our communities; making sure there are trained personnel and as full a range of emergency equipment as possible at every match and training session is just a part of it.

“We take on a lot of fundraising events to buy defibrillators because they are not cheap. You can pay up to £1,000 for one with the cost of training people how to use them on the top of that, but this is something the GAA feels simply has to be done.”

A discussion about whether Derry City Council should move ahead with installing defibrillators at its leisure centres is expected to take place at the next development committee meeting.

Councillor Martin Reilly said: “While all staff in the council leisure facilities are trained in first-aid, the addition of defibrillator would certainly be of benefit.

“There is no doubt that defibrillators save lives and I would like to see these survival aids in places where they are most needed as soon as possible. I have spoken to council officers and have asked for a report to be brought to the next committee meeting.”

Belfast Telegraph

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