Red Cross offers free checks after defibrillator failure reported to coroner

Posted on: 6th July, 2015

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

The Irish Red Cross is offering free checks on community-based defibrillators after Cork City Coroner’s court heard last month a device owned by a recreational club unexpectedly failed during an emergency.

The tragic incident arose when the batteries in a defibrillator died before their expiry date. The Health Products Regulatory Authority told the hearing that inconsistency in battery life can arise and advised sports clubs to check their storage practices.

After consulting with management and senior officers in recent days, the Irish Red Cross National Director of Units this afternoon directed all units to offer free checks on community-based defibrillators.

A defibrillator used by a trained person increases the survival rate from Sudden Cardiac Arrest by 50 per cent if CPR and defibrillation occurs within the first four minutes of the incident. Survival rates diminish at a rate of seven – 10 per cent for every minute thereafter.

It is therefore of the utmost importance to regularly check your defibrillator is working. The check should include battery life and date, pad date, machine self-test or test activation and visual inspection for obvious defects.

Irish Red Cross spokeswoman, Sandra Cregan said there is strong anecdotal evidence that checks are needed on many community-based defibrillators and some may need new batteries or be replaced.

“Some sports clubs and community groups may be unaware of the lifespan of their defib and don’t have a trained to person to check it. The case before the Coroner was genuinely unfortunate and we extend our sympathy to all involved. But the incident must also be taken as a warning.

“We urge anyone with responsibility for a community-based defibrillator more than two years old to contact us at defib@redcross.ie and we will arrange for one of our trained volunteers to carry out a free check and advise on any course of action required,” said Ms Cregan.

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