People could needlessly lose their lives in Co Cork because the location of many defibrillators isn’’t known to the ambulance service and some aren’’t working because their batteries and pads are not properly maintained.
Cork County Council is to seek a meeting with the HSE to discuss the issue after it was debated at length by councillors.
It was initially raised by Cllr Audrey Buckley who said it was estimated there are 9,000 to 11,000 AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators) nationally.
"You would assume that if you were having a heart attack, a working serviced AED would not be far away. This is not the case," Ms Buckley said.
"When a local community or sports group buys and inputs an AED it is this volunteer group that is responsible for maintaining and servicing the AED. Volunteers come and go and a percentage of AEDs are not being serviced and maintained properly. It is an oversight that needs to be addressed," she said.
An AED battery needs to be replaced every three to five years, while the electrode pads have a life shelf of two to three years.
"A life that could be at risk because a AED is not serviced or maintained. This is of great concern to people and we need to address the servicing and maintaining of our AEDs. Location could be addressed with an app. Inaccessibility to an AED is a factor with some locked in cabinets - who has the key?" Ms Buckley said.
She requested that the council’’s fire brigade personnel be sent out to check the machines and to compile a list of their various locations.
However, she was told by officials that the mainly part-time service didn’’t have the resources to do this.
"In my view the responsibility lies with the national ambulance service, but we need to see how we can help them compile such a list," Cllr John Paul O’’Shea said.
Cllr Gobnait Moynihan said the council should provide a list of AEDs.
"Our own municipal district in Macroom is compiling a list. We should have a campaign of some sort to let people know where they are," Ms Moynihan said.
Mr Fogarty said that in light of the debate the council would seek a meeting with the HSE to discuss how the issue could be resolved.