Derry community secures new defibrillator at busy carriageway

A defibrillator has been installed inside a phonebox at a lay by along the busy carriageway near the roundabout at Maydown in Derry.

The life-saving equipment has now been officially opened by the Mayor Sandra Duffy with representatives from the area, BT and the Housing Executive.

Martin Mc Cartney, Chair of Maydown Community Association, said the idea came about after he watched a programme on people reusing phoneboxes as community mini-libraries, green houses for plants or to house defibrillators.

After some more research, Martin got in touch with BT who were accommodating in allowing the phonebox to be reused by the community. They came and took away the phone equipment, while the electric connection remained live.

Group pictured at the official launch of a Defibrillator in the old telephone box at Maydown housing yesterday morning . From left are Lawrence Richmond, resident, Linda Sharkey, Enagh Youth Forum, Colr Gus Hastings, secretary of Strathfoyle Community Association, Mayor Sandra Duffy, Paul Hughes, Enagh Youth Forum, Lorraine McCartney, Maydown Community Association, Colr Racheal Ferguson, Martin McCartney, chair of Maydown Community Association and Louise Doherty, Enagh Youth Forum. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2232GS – 017

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“One of the things about a defibrillator is that there is a temperature gauge on it so there has to be a little electric running to it to maintain a certain temperature,” Martin said.

Martin also got in touch with Heartbeat Chest Trust who deal specifically with the conversion of phoneboxes for such equipment. They provided a lot of assistance, advice and information.

Martin also made contact with Eddie Breslin from the Housing Executive locally and with the help of Ann Gormley and Paul Hughes from Enagh Youth Forum they submitted an application for community funding from the Housing Executive, which proved successful and allowed them to purchase the defibrillator.

“We got an electrician to set it up and within the funding we had enough money for decals, designed and printed by Print Chameleon in Campsie,” Martin said, adding:

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Mayor Sandra Duffy and Martin McCartney, chair of Maydown Community Association pictured at the launch of a Defibrillator in the old telephone box at Maydown housing yesterday morning. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2232GS – 018

“On Sunday night I got the e-mail from England to say we were fully registered with all the hospitals and all emergency services within Northern Ireland and the Uk so we are basically up and running and now it can be used for any eventuality. We hope it is never used but you never know.

“One of the reasons we wanted to get it on the dual carriageway, and hopefully it never happens, but if someone had a heart attack driving or someone else in the car, it is there in an emergency.

“The way it operates is you dial 999, tell them where the phonebox/ defibrillator is on Maydown Road and they take details and then get you a code to lift it out and go back to the individual concerned. It tells you the steps to go through.”

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Martin urged people to seriously consider undertaking the free online or in person training available. “It’s an introduction to it and how it operates, it’s only about 20 minutes or half an hour. Before you say no, think about it, if you are in that situation where you had family or friends are down and, God forbid, somebody took a heart attack, The first thing you think is ambulance but that could be a while in getting there depending on the circumstances.”

Community representatives and residents with Mark H Durkan, SDLP MLA and Eddie Breslin from the Housing Executive.

Anyone who would like more information on the training can contact Martin at [email protected]