Northern Ireland installs defibrillators at all fire stations to enhance public safety

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Northern Ireland fire service ensures community access to emergency defibrillators

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has completed the installation of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at all its fire stations, ensuring widespread public access to critical life-saving equipment.

As reported by the NIFRS website, this initiative places AEDs at 67 fire stations and the NIFRS headquarters in Lisburn, aiming to provide early intervention in cardiac emergencies.

Studies highlight the effectiveness of prompt defibrillation, suggesting that survival rates can soar above 50% if administered within three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest.

This strategic deployment of AEDs underscores the NIFRS’s commitment to enhancing community safety and emergency responsiveness.

Statements from NIFRS leadership

NIFRS Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Aidan Jennings commented on the project: “We are delighted to announce that we have installed defibrillators at all of our Fire Stations.

“Our stations are at the centre of the community which makes them easily accessible to the public and will enhance the availability of initial emergency equipment in the event of a cardiac arrest.

“NIFRS stands as a key pillar in facilitating public use of defibrillators.”

The accessibility of these defibrillators for public use during emergencies is further augmented by their inclusion in ‘The Circuit’.

This integration allows Ambulance Control at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) to direct individuals to the nearest available defibrillator.

Government and healthcare sector support

Health Minister Robin Swann praised the initiative: “This is very welcome news for communities right across Northern Ireland.

“We know that every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest and getting prompt access to a defibrillator, alongside CPR, will give them the best chance of survival.

“That’s why the investment by the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service is so important.”

Similarly, Jay Colville, Chairperson of the NIFRS Board, emphasized the service’s commitment: “Our commitment to equipping every Fire Station with a defibrillator is a testament to our dedication to public safety across Northern Ireland and our role as a vital player in the collective effort to save lives during emergencies.”

James Cant, CEO at Resuscitation Council UK, highlighted the ease of use of these devices: “Defibrillators help save lives and anyone can use one. They tell you exactly what to do, no training is needed.

“If someone is having a cardiac arrest, it simply needs to be switched on and it will talk the person through each step – it’s like having an expert in the room.”

IFSJ comment

The deployment of AEDs across all fire stations in Northern Ireland by NIFRS is a significant step in improving public safety and emergency preparedness.

By making these life-saving devices readily available, NIFRS is enhancing its capability to respond to cardiac emergencies.

This initiative serves as an exemplary model for other regions aiming to enhance public health and safety infrastructure.

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