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Councillor seeks defibrillator training for Gardaí

Gardaí say they have suspended a defibrillator pilot programme in Blanchardstown and are evaluating a pilot in Kilkenny.

Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images

CLARE COUNCILLOR PAUL O’Shea has called on the Department of Justice to provide training in the use of heart defibrillators to Gardaí.

O’Shea told TheJournal.ie that a committee in Ennis had recently purchased two machines and placed them in the middle of the town.

He said he offered use of the defibrillators to local Gardaí and was “astounded to find out that front line Gardái have no training” with the machines.

“I always assumed the Garda traffic corps were equipped with one because on a motorway they could be the first on the scene of an accident”, he said.

The Clare Red Cross are offering free training in the use of the machines and have extended this offer to local Gardaí.

A spokesperson for the Clare Red Cross said when a person goes into cardiac arrest, if a defibrillator is used in the first five minutes, there is a 90 percent chance of bringing the heartbeat back to normal and after that the chances reduce by 10 percent every minute.

The Garda Press Office said pilot programmes with defibrillators have been rolled out in Blanchardstown and Kilkenny since 2006. The pilot in Blanchardstown was suspended as ambulances were reaching the scene before the Gardaí in most cases and the machine in Kilkenny has been used just three times since 2006.

Gardaí said they were evaluating the pilot in Kilkenny but added that all members of the Regional Support Unit and the Emergency Response Unit have been trained in the use of a heart defibrillator.

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