Awards are a great way to acknowledge good work. This week, the collaborative work of Leitrim’s community groups and agencies was shortlisted for an award in the 16th annual Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards for:
Leitrim Defibrillator Mapping in Supporting Active Communities
This project, involved Leitrim PPN, Leitrim Volunteering Information Service, Leitrim Development Company and the community groups of Co. Leitrim. The result is an online map for public-use defibrillators in Leitrim. The project is being replicated in Donegal, Kerry and Carlow with scope for more areas to follow. Thank you to everyone who helped make this project successful.
To view the website , click on the link, https://leitrimdefib.com/
Remember: in the event of a life-threatening emergency,
ALWAYS call the Ambulance Service at 112 or 999.
A cold night in March 2018 at a meeting of South Leitrim Community Network (Leitrim PPN Members). People are talking about ambulance response times in Leitrim and a Leitrim PPN letter sent to the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and elected representatives. This prompted the question:
“We have all these defibrillators bought by communities – does anyone know where they are?”
It was a good question: volunteers and communities collected money to buy, erect and maintain defibrillators. Many communities supported certified training in Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and there was no central directory that people could access for their own areas. Even more worryingly, many communities didn’t realise the need to register public-use defibrillators with the NAS so they can locate the nearest unit available in the event of an emergency.
Proposal: Locate all the public-use defibrillators (or Automated External Defibrillator – AEDs) and set up a comprehensive list for County Leitrim.
The work was agreed in partnership by Leitrim PPN and Leitrim Volunteering Information Service (LVIS). This partnership enabled widespread promotion of the project through the community and shared responsibility for collating the information.
Leitrim Development Company and the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) fund and oversee the LVIS. Leitrim PPN is supported by the Dept of Rural and Community Development and Leitrim County Council.
Getting the Defibrillators Mapped
Word was sent out through the partner networks – we want to know where the community AEDs are located and they will be registered with the National Ambulance Service. Help and advice was available from Mark Callanan (NAS). Leitrim’s community groups responded immediately. Tracy (Leitrim PPN) and Caillin (Leitrim VIS) shared the workload to their strengths and time available. The various tasks included liaising, promotion, investigating, phoning, gathering and collating the information. Caillin took on the heavy lifting of creating the website and map.
Many groups and individuals and Leitrim District Gardai assisted with gathering the information.
Challenges and Success
While we issued a template based on the needs of the NAS, we were keen to ensure we had contact information and details of functionality and checks so that we could be confident the units listed were working. In some cases, we were told that a defibrillator existed but no-one was sure who was responsible for it.
An unexpected result of the project was being able to share funding information with community defibrillator groups and keeping them in the loop about other news that might be useful to them. Lively discussion took place around the pros and cons of community Defibrillator and first Response groups.
Results and The Future
The map was launched on March 14th with members of many of the local community defibrillator and first response groups in Leitrim in attendance. CLICK HERE to view our website article on the launch. To listen to the RTÉ This Week radio report from the launch – CLICK HERE.
In follow up to the launch, groups were kept informed of potential funding opportunities and potential exists for developing a model of certified community training that would decrease costs for local area volunteers.
Hands for Life: By a chance of happy coincidence, the Irish Heart Foundation, supported by Abbot (Medical Devices) and ESB (Networks) launched Hands for Life. This free CPR awareness training is available for communities.
Leitrim PPN is proud to host 3 sessions on Sept. 12th 2019 at the Mayflower Community Centre, Drumshanbo – CLICK HERE to login and book.
Tullaghan Community Centre are also hosting 3 sessions on Aug. 20th 2019. You can login and book at the same link or email them at tullaghancommunitycentre@o