Council to install defibrillators

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COUNCILLORS have agreed to install two defibrillators - one in Ballymoney Town Hall and the other at Castlecroft.

During a recent Full Council meting, members heard that following publicity of Council’s plans to install defibrillators in the town centre, a local business woman had come forward offering to allow Council the use of their equipment.

The report explained: ‘During December 2014, Mrs Flynn of the Family Dental Care practice on Queen Street at Union Street junction contacted Council to advise that the practice was considering providing a defibrillator and was interested in sharing costs and making it available outside business hours; they also have two staff members trained to use it. It was agreed that this proposal would be put before council when itgave the matter further consideration.’

In response Cllr Ian Stevenson thanked Mrs Flynn for the ‘generous offer’ continuing: “I think we should take her up on that. My only concern is that it will be only available in the day as they aren’t there at evening time. What about other places for the defibrillator ie the Town Hall and Castlecroft? And if Council deemed generous we could consider Megaw Park and Riverside Park.”

Cllr Roma McAfee praised the idea however highlighted that Council ‘needed to look further into the issue’ including concerns with access arrangements, misuse and training of the apparatus. She also asked if there were any other defibrillators already in Main Street.

In response the Chief Executive John Dempsey also questioned who would ‘assume liability for the equipment?’, where the best location would be, who would maintain/charge it and who would be trained to use it adding: ‘It is not in Council staff’s job description to have to do this’.

He continued: “There are two defibrillators in the town, one in the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre and one in Gordons Chemist. Council take responsibility for them and keep them charged, maintained and gives training and retraining.”

He also outlined that Magherafelt had a keypad system where the emergency services would be called and give out a code to those needing to use and unlock the equipment.

Following discussions regarding the costs (£4,000 plus VAT was the maximum estimated cost for one defibrillator plus 20 trained personnel), Cllr Stevenson proposed that Council ‘goes with Mrs Flynn, trains up to 20 people and also puts one in the Town Hall and one at Castlecroft.’

Cllr John Finlay seconded the proposal stating that ‘we will never have 24/7 cover’ but hoped the ‘emergency services would be able to direct them on how to use it if necessary’.

Concluding Ald Frank Campbell suggested Council advertise for people to come forward and be trained and ‘see from there’.