The importance of a defibrillator at GAA grounds was once again illustrated by the recent life-saving incident at Coney Park in Ardboe, where Carrickmore clubman Sean Gormley fell ill while attending a match.
The N. Ireland Ambulance Service is seeking to establish a link with sporting clubs in order to maximise the effectiveness of defibrillators.
It has called on all clubs to register their defibrillators with the Service, so that they can be quickly located by crews responding to emergency 999 calls.
And the Tyrone Health and Wellbeing Committee has added its support to the campaign, urging clubs to ensure they have a well maintained defibrillator located permanently at their premises, and register to it with the Ambulance Service.
“The N. Ireland Ambulance Service is committed to increasing the number of people who survive an Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA),” said a statement posted on the Ambulance Service website.
“To help us strengthen the Chain of Survival it is important that we know where Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are located and that they are in good working order and ‘emergency ready’.
“If you are the Co-ordinator/Owner/Guardian of an AED (also called a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD), it is important that you register it with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
“The information you give will be used by our Ambulance Control Centre when they receive a 999 call for a cardiac arrest. Using the information you have provided, our staff will signpost the caller to the nearest AED. This will help to increase the chance of survival of the person having the cardiac arrest.”
Fiona Teague, chair of the Tir Eoghain Health and Wellbeing Committee, appealed to all clubs in the county to register their defibrillators, and to ensure that they are maintained.
“We never know when an emergency will arise, whether within the club grounds or in the surrounding community, so it is vital that this vital piece of equipment is permanently available,” she said.
“The Ambulance Service provides a life-saving service, and we can do our bit to assist them in their work, and make a valuable contribution to the welfare of our communities.”
Fiona went on to pay tribute to the Ardboe club in relation to their response to the emergency which arose during their recent league game aginst Carrickmore.
“The O’Donovan Rossa club has been an extremely proactive club in relation to health and wellbeing in the local community for a number of years, and thankfully had the appropriate measures in place to respond to this particular incident at their grounds. We would ask all clubs to please learn from this incident which thankfully has a positive outcome”