The founder member of Birr Community Responder Group says that he is “shocked” and “gutted” that one of the groups defibrillators was damaged last weekend.
The heated cabinet holding the potentially life saving piece of equipment, which is located on O'Connell Street, was broken sometime between Friday evening and Monday last. In addition to the cabinet being damaged, there is water damage also on the defibrillator. Speaking to the Offaly Independent this week, David McEvoy said that it will cost around €700 to replace the cabinet. The defibrillator is being tested this week. If it needs to be replaced it will cost up to €2,000.
Mr McEvoy said that he and his fellow first responders was “gutted” and “shocked” to hear that vandals had targetted the defibrillator.
The chances of someone surviving after suffering a cardiac arrest increase significantly if a defibrillator is used to treat them while waiting for medical attention to arrive. Mr McEvoy says that the voluntary group, which has 13 defibrillators located around the town, has saved the lives of five local people in the last 12 months alone.
“We never thought this would happen. The people of Birr are disgusted,” he said.
There is “great community spirit” in Birr and local people have been very supportive of the group since it was formed in 2012, Mr McEvoy added.
At the moment Birr Community Responder Group has 18 members, with another five set to join. Every day three members are on call during the day and another three are on call at night.
Birr Gardai are investigating the incident, anyone who may have information is asked to contact the station on 057916 9710.