29 Nov 2021

GAA Community Heart Programme seeks to help save lives through defibrillator awareness


Antrim hurler Neil McManus and his father Hugh at Cushendall GAA Club in Antrim. Neil is an ambassador for the GAA Community Heart Programme Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

According to a recent survey, 42 lives across Ireland have been saved by Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) located in GAA facilities being used on members of their communities. The GAA is marking this by today launching the Community Heart Programme.

This initiative encourages every club in the country to A.C.T. now and ensure that their club can also be prepared in case of an emergency and that they can avail of a defibrillator that is ACCESSIBLE, CHARGED and that there are enough TRAINED rescuers within your Club who have the ability to operate the device(s). 

The Community Heart Programme allows GAA Clubs to fundraise for life-saving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) via a bespoke fundraising platform. The programme allows clubs to fundraise for new AEDs, which are connected to the internet via the mobile phone network. This means the AED will check itself and notify designated club members via email if there is an issue that needs to be addressed, such as the battery or pads needing to be changed.

In addition to having a bespoke fundraising platform, Clubs will be able to avail of a significant reduction of €995 saving per unit if they register and secure their AED(s) via the Community Heart Programme. Once the fundraising target of €2,150 per unit has been reached, the AED unit(s) will also be delivered directly to the Club. Programme partners Heart Safety Solutions will supply the unit to the club.

We know that AED units save lives. However, AEDs, like all medical equipment, need to be replaced over time. The life expectancy of an AED is between eight and 10 years. Critical components such as pads and batteries need to be checked regularly.

Remember, an AED should be ACCESSIBLE, CHARGED with sufficient Club members TRAINED in how to operate the device. AEDs must be checked regularly to ensure that they are in working order and ready for use. 

From school children to seemingly fit and health club players to older members of the community, there is a broad spectrum of people represented among the list of those who have benefitted by being near a GAA-based AED during an emergency. 

GAA President  Larry McCarthy encouraged clubs to engage with the Community Heart Programme. He said: “The GAA club is the focal point of the communities in which we operate. In the past we have seen how access to these devices have made a critical difference during an emergency. This Community Heart Programme not only plays a vital role at raising awareness, but also affords clubs an opportunity to ensure that they have some of the most up-to-date equipment available.”

The GAA is working alongside Stryker to deliver the program. Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies and, together with their customers, is driven to make healthcare better. The company offers innovative products and services in Orthopaedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine that help improve patient and hospital outcomes.

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