A well-known Letterkenny man has spoken about the importance of defibrillators and how one such device saved his life.
Harry Walsh recently retired as Deputy Editor of the Donegal News.
The former Letterkenny Rovers and Finn Harps player now lives in Ardara.
But last March Harry, 57, realised the importance of defibrillators first-hand.
He said: “Throughout my years as a reporter, I’ve heard many extraordinary stories of people being kept alive thanks to the swift use of a defibrillator.
“However, it was not until I went into cardiac arrest in my own home, in rural Donegal, that the importance of community defibrillators and those with the skill to use them, came into sharp focus.
“Within minutes of calling the emergency services, a team of locally based local Community First Responders arrived at my door and saved my life.
“These are not medics, simply local volunteers with lifesaving training, without whom I may not be alive today.”
His appeal comes as the Donegal Local Development Clg (DLDC) and the Donegal Volunteer Centre (DVC) launch a Donegal Defib Day, asking the public to put their hearts into becoming defib aware on the 24th of February.
The Donegal Defib Day campaign is calling on the public to do three key things – Locate, Visit, and
* Know how and where to locate a defibrillator in your community.
* Visit your local defibrillator so you’re familiar with exactly where it is located. A community centre or a football pitch can be large places to search in an emergency.
* Lastly, watch a video guide on how to properly use a defibrillator so you feel more confident using one if needed in an emergency.
The ‘Donegal Defib Day’ campaign aims to make people aware of the locations of lifesaving devices in our communities.
Defibrillators are placed in areas across Donegal where they are most needed, such as shops, community facilities, public buildings and sports grounds.
It is essential that people are equipped with the knowledge they need to be able to access to a defibrillator, which can mean
the difference between life and death for a person who is going into cardiac arrest.
Every minute without CPR or defibrillation, a person’s chances of survival from a cardiac arrest decreases by 10%.
Public awareness of their closest defibrillator is critical to people having the best chance of survival from cardiac arrest.
Donegal Defib Day is also calling on people to consider becoming a Community First Responder in their local area.
Community First Responders (CFR) are volunteers who are trained to attend certain types of emergencies calls in the area where they live or work.
Their aim is to reach a potential life-threatening emergency in the first vital minutes and provide the appropriate care including CPR & defibrillation, until the more highly skilled ambulance crew arrives on scene. To find out more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaking about the importance of Community First Responders, Teague McFadden, Ardara CFRs, said: “Community first responders play a vital rural in very rural locations such as Ardara. Like a lot of places in Donegal, we are almost an hour drive from the hospital.
“Having a team of volunteers who can respond within a few minutes and provide care until the ambulance arrives is invaluable.
“The call out rate is very low, we might use the defib a few times a year, but the reward in knowing you played a role is saving someone’s life is incredibly high.
“I would encourage every person to get defib aware and, if they can, volunteer to become a first responders. You won’t regret it.”
For more information on Donegal Defib Day please visit www.dldc.org.