Three potentially life-saving defibrillators are to be installed in Derry’s city centre.
The move was rubber-stamped by Derry City Council’s Environmental Services Committee at their December meeting on Thursday.
Derry City Council officers said they already had the finances in place to cover the costs of purchasing the defibrillators and installing them. The costs will be around £9,000 inclusive of vat.
The machines will be locked in cabinets and can only be opened by secret codes held by Emergency Ambulance staff, who will pass it on during 999 calls so they can be opened.
Defibrillators have been instrumental in saving the lives of numerous schoolchildren and sports people, including several in the North West.
There have also been a number of tragedies in sporting arenas because no such equipment was available.
In a report brought before the committee at the meeting in the Guildhall, councillors were told that the approach about installing defibrillators in the city centre had been made to by City Centre Manager Jim Roddy.
“The City Centre Manager has been working with a number of agencies in order to progress these installations and has asked for Council support for the purchase and installation of one of the three cabinets.”
The report also states that there would be a small annual electricity cost of £20- £25, while cartridge replacements would cost £95 if not used within four years.
Speaking at the meeting, chairman of the Environmental Services Committee Colly Kelly welcomed the unanimous endorsement for the project from councillors.
He said that council had introduced defibrillators at its own buildings and sporting facilities back in November 2011, and that the Mr Roddy, the council, Ilex and the Ambulance Service had all worked together since to progress broadening this out to include the city centre.
“It it saves one person’s life it will be worthwhile”, he said.
SDLP Councillor Mark O’Donnell, a first aider who is trained in the use of such machines, said: “By having these defibrillators on scene bystanders will be able to provide vital intervention and radically improve a patients chances of survival, the defibrillators can only be accessed via a pin code provided when the emergency services are called and they can be easily used with the guidance of an operator.”