Pictured at the installation of NUI Galway's Automated External Defibrilator are from left: Alice Daly, NUI Galway Safety Officer; Billy Conroy, Civil Defence Instructor; Melissa O Hea and Anne Marie Flannery, Occupational First Aiders; and Mr Keith Warnock, Director of Safety & Vice President for Physical Resources, NUI Galway.
NUI Galway's Student Health Unit, in conjunction with the University has recently installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on campus, to be deployed in the event of someone having a cardiac arrest.
The purpose of the AED pilot project is to have a readily accessible defibrillator on campus to deliver an electric shock(s) to a casualty (where required) to help restore a normal heart rhythm. When someone receives prompt defibrillation in conjunction with proper Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) within minutes of a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival are greatly increased. AED's are designed specifically to meet the needs of non-medical rescuers and are simple to use and safe to operate. Studies have shown that in areas where defibrillators are accessible within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, survival rates increase to as much as 50%.
Within the University currently six (6) staff at the Student Health Unit and ten (10) Occupational First Aiders are trained in the use of the AED, which is based in the student centre, Áras na Mac Léinn.
NUI Galway Health and Safety Officer, Alice Daly explains the significance of having an AED on the campus.
"NUI Galway in conjunction with the Student Health Unit (SHU) has acquired this defibrillator so that in the event of a critical cardiac condition occurring to staff, students, visitors or others we will have the ability to provide early defibrillation on campus while the emergency services are en-route," she said.
"This is a very important first aid development, and relies on the co-operation of the trained staff and the awareness of all NUI Galway staff, students and others in being prepared to respond to any such potential first aid emergencies in their local areas."
The provision of AEDs in Universities and Colleges is one of the immediate-medium term recommendations of the 2006 Report of the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death, and NUI Galway is the fourth Irish University to have an AED on site.
The provision of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in workplaces is a recommended (but not yet required) critical first aid measure to increase the survival rates of people who have some form of critical coronary heart disease condition e.g. a cardiac arrest while at work. It is one of the four steps in the recommended chain of survival. The objective of this "chain" is to significantly increase people's chances of survival from such cardiac conditions, which remains the major cause of death in Ireland causing approximately 5,000 deaths annually.