Ten Spar outlets in the Lisburn area have signed up to install debrillators outside their stores.
In a new campaign launched by franchise owners, Henderson Group, over 300 AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) will be placed throughout Northern Ireland with 112 in County Antrim and 63 in County Down in what will be Northern Ireland’s largest external network of lifesaving devices.
It is intended that these will be available for the public 24/7 throughout 2016. The campaign has received full support from Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr McBride.
Community and store fundraising at each outlet signed up will fund the devices, aiming for £1,500 to purchase the product, its temperature controlled cabinet and installation.
With around 1,400 cardiac arrests occurring each year in Northern Ireland outside of hospitals, it is vital bystanders perform CPR and make use of a defibrillator if readily available.
Henderson Group’s Bronagh Luke, who has pioneered the campaign with her colleagues, says that this initiative is essential for every community to get involved in.
“At the heart of our business we are passionate about local,” she said. “We hope that every local community will get behind thecampaign and ensure more life-saving devices are on hand, and we encourage retailers and communities to educate themselves with lifesaving practices should an unfortunate incident occur in their area.
“We will have an education campaign running alongside the fundraising campaigns both digitally via specially produced ‘how to use’ videos, and with printed, practical information readily available in store.
“We know it is not enough to only have the devices in situ, education on community resuscitation and defibrillator usage is a priority.”
Dr McBride says the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) commended the Group for the initiative; “The addition of these external, public access defibrillators to our network of life savers across Northern Ireland is very welcome. The DHSSPS launched the Community Resuscitation Strategy in 2014, with the aim of improving the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.
“This campaign complements the strategy and we hope that more lives can be saved in the future.”
Working with DCAL and Sport NI, the campaign has been gaining the support of sports stars, actors, musicians and local personalities to push the fundraising message further, for all communities to get involved in their local fundraising activity.
Mrs Luke said: “We are working with Mark Bailie, a State Registered Paramedic and the UK & Ireland agent for one of the most prestigious AED manufacturers in the world, Physio-Control. With Mark’s experience and our extensive product research, we believe this product is the best for our communities. They will be fitted outside stores, in special temperature controlled cabinets, fully accessible 24/7.”