Stricter penalties for people who vandalise defibrillators proposed

Stricter penalties for people who vandalise defibrillators proposed

Stricter penalties for those who vandalise defibrillators are being proposed, following a number of incidents around the country where the life-saving devices were damaged beyond use.

In the most recent case earlier this week, a €2,000 defibrillator in Arklow town was pulled off a wall and smashed by a group of youths, who were caught on CCTV.

The Community First Responder Network, a voluntary group trained in resuscitation, says vandals should face large fines or imprisonment.

They have met with Health Minister Simon Harris and are due to have a second meeting in January to discuss action to protect public access defibrillators.

Medical director of the group, Dr David Menzies, said that these machines can make the difference between life and death.

"Well, if somebody has a cardiac arrest and they need a defibrillation shock to restore their heart to a normal rhythm, you've got a window of about 10 minutes to make that intervention, and for every minute that passes without CPR or defibrillation, the chance of survival drops," he said.

"And if the machine isn't there, it can't be used."


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