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Councillor: ‘AEDs Must Be Checked!’

Councillor Audrey Buckley (FF) has argued that Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) need to be routinely checked in our towns and villages as a matter of public safety.

Councillor Buckley made the point in a motion at a full Cork County Council meeting this week in County Hall. Having heard of a recent account where a defibrillator was needed in an incident and the pads were subsequently found to be rusty, she believes that it is crucial for AEDs to be maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid similar episodes.

The Crosshaven-based public representative said that “there are an estimated 9,000 to 11,000 AEDs nationally, so you would assume that if you were having a heart attack a working, serviced AED would not be far away. This is not the case.”

She continued by saying that it is volunteers who take the responsibility of making sure that the life-saving devices are maintained, but in the long-term this is potentially not sustainable. “This is of great concern to people and we need to address the servicing and maintaining of our AEDs”.

Councillor Buckley said that the battery in an AED needs to be replaced every 3-5 years and that the pads have a lifespan of about 2-3 years. She went on to make the argument for a potential solution by suggesting that the local fire services could instead get involved with their upkeep, by checking the condition of the AEDs, noting any repairs needed and subsequently inform the volunteer or sports group associated.

In response to Cllr. Buckley, Cork County Council said, “All Cork County Firefighters are trained in First Aid and all first attending appliances carry AED on board. This training allows the firefighters to assess patients and use the AED where appropriate. The Fire Service can be requested to attend by the National Ambulance Service where there is a medical emergency requiring Fire and Rescue Service response. The NAS also alerts any local established Community First Responder Group if a cardiac response call is received to ensure the closest AED is responding.

Fire Service personnel carry out periodic checks on the AEDs in the Cork County Council appliances and arrange for servicing to be carried out by the supplier or agent for the specific brand of AED carried on them. The Fire Service would not have the resources to facilitate the service and maintenance of third party AEDs and firefighters would not be trained to check different makes and models of AEDs. Furthermore, firefighters would not be trained or qualified to give advice to community groups on maintaining the various AEDs.

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