Belfast Telegraph

Search on for potential lifesavers

By Fiona McIlwaine Biggins
29 January 2005

Ballymena is one of the latest towns across the province where potential lifesavers are being sought to take part in a new scheme which kicked off last month.

The Northern Ireland Public Access Defibrillation (NIPAD) project involves training people working and living in communities like Ballymena.

They will assist suspected cardiac victims, before an ambulance arrives, using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) - a device which gives an electric shock to try to get the heart back to normal rhythm.

Backed by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, the volunteers include people from all backgrounds and professions, including PSNI officers who will be among those carrying defibrillators.

Assistant chief constable Roy Toner said the PSNI welcomed the opportunity to take part in the project: "Police officers in the pilot areas will use their training and mobility to contribute whenever possible towards the success of this scheme.

"We welcome the chance to work with others in the community to help save lives."

Heart disease is the biggest killer in Northern Ireland, with the majority of cases frequently occurring outside hospital. Evidence shows that the sooner defibrillation occurs after the individual collapses, the greater the chance of survival.

If you are interested in volunteering or for further details contact the Royal Victoria Hospital at www.med.qub.ac.uk

The programme is organised jointly by the Department of Cardiology and Public Health (Queen's University) and the Royal Victoria Hospital.

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