The lifesaving defibrillators, designed, developed and manufactured at HeartSine’s headquarters in Belfast, will be located at each of the Games sporting venues during August and then donated to schools across Northern Ireland as part of the 2013 WPFG legacy programme.
John Tully, Chief Executive 2013 WPFG explains, “Sudden cardiac arrest kills 270 people every day in the UK and can happen at any time, to even the fittest athlete. One recent example was the Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba. A HeartSine defibrillator was used to treat the athlete until paramedics arrived.
“Whilst we hope that none of the defibrillators will be used during the Games we are truly indebted to HeartSine for making such a generous donation.
“Even more significant is the gift of the devices to 45 schools after the event ensuring a meaningful and lasting legacy for years following the Games.”
Defibrillators are used to ‘shock’ the heart of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) victim back to a normal rhythm. Combined with the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillators can increase SCA survival rates to over 70%. Survival rates are less than 5% with just CPR alone.
HeartSine is currently the only manufacturer of AEDs in the UK and Ireland and their devices are employed on board Air Force One, in the White House, and more locally in George Best Belfast City Airport and Stormont Parliament Buildings.
Andy McClernon, International Product Manager at HeartSine Technologies, said, “HeartSine defibrillators are used in over 40 countries across the world and are manufactured in more than 20 languages, so many of the athletes attending the WPFG will already be familiar with the devices.
“However, the use of our AEDs is not restricted to medical professionals. They can be used by anyone, with little or even no first aid training.
“The defibrillators which will be used at the Games will actually talk the responder through the ‘save’ process step by step until professional medical assistance arrives. This means they can be used by absolutely anyone.
“The chances of surviving an SCA decrease by 10% every minute a defibrillation ‘shock’ is delayed and with the majority of SCA cases happening outside of a medical setting, it is vital that defibrillators are present within local communities and can be accessed quickly.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to support the WPFG and help them to protect not only the competing athletes and their staff, but also the thousands of spectators expected to gather at the venues throughout their duration.”
The donation to the WPFG, which will take place in Belfast 1-10 August 2013, is particularly poignant given that the city is actually the birthplace of the portable defibrillator. Working in the Royal Victoria Hospital in the 1960s, Professor John Anderson worked with Dr. Frank Pantridge to develop the technology, still used today, that would no longer restrict the use of defibrillators to hospitals.
Schools who are interested in having one of the 45 defibrillators should register their interest by emailing email@example.com.