In light of Christmas spirit and the season of goodwill, there were no chocolate trays, vouchers or hampers in sight for one local company which has bucked the trend and chosen to gift each of its employees with a lifesaving defibrillator.
The donations were made by Belfast-based defibrillator manufacturer, HeartSine Technologies, with the intention of protecting their employees in Northern Ireland and locations throughout the world from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which kills approximately seven million people globally each year.
The employees will decide whether to place their automated external defibrillator (AED) in their house or car to protect family, friends and members of the local community when on the move, or whether to install the device in a local school, office, shop or community centre.
Declan O’Mahoney, CEO of HeartSine Technologies, which is the only manufacturer of automated defibrillators in the UK and Ireland, said:
“There are more people that die each year from sudden cardiac arrest than from fires, yet it is a legal requirement for public buildings to be equipped with fire extinguishers but not with defibrillators that can increase SCA survival rates from less than 5% to more than 70%.
“This, however, is not something that will happen overnight, and in the meantime SCA fatalities that could have been prevented with a defibrillator will continue to happen to men, women and children of all ages and fitness or health levels across the world.
“It is therefore crucial that public access to these devices is increased significantly, and the gifting of defibrillators to our employees is one small step in the right direction.
“It is also an opportunity to thank all of our employees, who are based all over the Island of Ireland, Central Europe and the United States, for their continued hard work, and to provide each employee and their families, friends and local communities with the best possible chance of survival should an SCA event occur.
“We wanted to stay away from the usual sorts of gifts such as chocolates, wine or vouchers and gift our employees with something really special and significant, and there’s nothing more special or significant than saving a life! The gift of life is really a present that can’t be surpassed.”
Whilst mobile defibrillation technology was first developed in Belfast in the 1960s, Mr. O’Mahoney is keen to raise public awareness around the location of devices, which are sold in more than 40 countries, and just how easy they are to use. He continued:
“I urge members of the public not only to familiarise themselves with the location of AEDs within their community – at a local school, the gym or their place of work – but also to be assured that HeartSine defibrillators can be used by absolutely anyone should someone in their company or close proximity collapse with no apparent heartbeat.
“Our samaritan® PAD devices guide the responder through the entire ‘save’ process—from performing CPR to delivering a shock—with visual and audible prompts to provide the victim with the best chance of survival, which decreases at a rate of 10% each minute defibrillation is delayed, until professional medical assistance arrives.”
Take a look at the news stories written by various publications in response to this story:
The Irish News: http://www.irishnews.com/features/christmas-gift-of-life-1402291
Belfast Telegraph: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/cracking-christmas-for-northern-ireland-business-chiefs-30860009.html
Farming Life: http://www.farminglife.com/national/defibrillators-become-festive-gifts-1-6489796