Airside defibrillator from Swords CFR
Local voluntary group Swords Community First Responders (CFR) last week announced the installation of their first public access defibrillator at Airside Shopping Centre.
Swords CFR, set up in January 2017 by Claire Ahern, is a group of fully-trained volunteers who, working in conjunction with the National Ambulance Service, respond to incidents of cardiac arrest, stroke, heart attack and choking.
The aim of the group, which operates Monday-Sunday 24/7, is to reach potential life-threatening emergencies in the first vital minutes before emergency services arrive.
Speaking of the new defibrillator at Airside, Swords CFR's Zita Corkery said: 'There was never one before that was publicly accessible in this area of Swords.
'There are some private businesses who have them, as well at the Fingal County Council offices on Main Street and a couple of others, but we felt this area of Swords was being overlooked.'
One of the advantages of a 24/7 publicly accessible defibrillator, according to Zita, is that if a cardiac arrest is responded to within the first three minutes, the chance of survival is 'doubled': 'If, for example, there's an incident in Airside, a member of the public can ring '999' and speak to someone in the control centre.'
She added: 'The controller would then give them a four-digit code which gives access to the unit. Once you activate the defibrillator, there's an automated recording that guides you step by step through the procedure.
'It's really a talk-through process, but all the time a 999 dispatcher would be on the phone explaining what to do.'
The new Swords CFR defibrillator is located outside Tesco Airside, with all members of Tesco staff being fully trained in its operation. The unit was fund-raised for by Swords CFR themselves, who also have a mobile defibrillator operated by volunteers responding to 999 emergency calls.
Swords CFR is now planning to install a second unit into River Valley Shopping Centre in the next couple of months:
Zita explained: 'We'd have an awful lot of calls for the River Valley area, because its an older community. The unit at Airside is the first one we've fund-raised for, so this is quite exciting for us as a group.'
The group thanked Tesco for their support in bringing the AED to Airside.