Launch: Killarney Advertiser

Killarney rings in the changes with defibrillator telephone box

KILLARNEY teenager Tom Geaney, whose life was saved by the use of a defibrillator after he suffered a heart attack, cut the ribbon on the defibrillator telephone box on Main Street today.

Tom, whose parents are both local GPs, owes his life to the quick reaction of club officials and the nearby access to a defibrillator and the new Heart of Killarney project aims to increase the public awareness around the location of the public access AEDs in Killarney.

Killarney aims to be the most heartsafe town in Ireland, with community first responders, public access AEDs and public training initiatives. The Heart of Killarney complements the existing services in the overall goal of reducing the lives lost to sudden cardiac arrests each year, said Damien Baker and Leo O’Connor, the project leads for the Heart of Killarney who have spearheaded this project working alongside Cllr Donal Grady, Kerry County Council, Irish Independent Healthfoods and many more supporters of the project.

“Historically the phone box played a huge part of Ireland’s communities; it was the lifeline that kept families together,” said Damien Baker.
“Now they can do that again by housing these life-saving devices and help the public recognise and remember the locations of the AEDs.”

Killarney, as with other heart healthy projects, aims to lead this innovative project and hopes it will be a national role out over the next few years, he added.

“The team at Heart of Killarney have created a template for the project that will be provided on request to other towns on that want to follow with this initiative,” said Leo O’Connor.

Killarney has 13 public access AEDs which drastically improve the chances of survival of someone who has an out of hospital cardiac arrest. “The team at the heart of Killarney are working with the other groups already in existence in Killarney to strengthen the chain of survival,” added Leo.

Leo, who is also the coordinator of the Killarney Cardiac Response Unit, thanked the people of Killarney for their support in this project and encouraged other towns to follow suit.

Damien, a student paramedic in the UK, has paid tribute to the sponsors and supporters for making this possible and would encourage as many as possible to learn CPR and how to use an AED.

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This article first appeared in the Killarney Advertiser

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