Limavady bar makes lifesaving move

James McGuinness (HeartSine), Gary Owens, Damien Owens and JB McNicholl.
James McGuinness (HeartSine), Gary Owens, Damien Owens and JB McNicholl.

A family run Limavady pub has purchased a lifesaving defibrillator to be on hand for use in the community.

Gary Owens and Damien Owens of Frank Owens Bar said while there are a number of defibrillators located in the town, some are subject to limited availability.

Postman Ronnie Thompson. INLV0616-072KDR

Postman Ronnie Thompson. INLV0616-072KDR

“We want people to be aware, if needed, that it’s here and can be used until the arrival of an ambulance. We just hope we never have to use it,” commented Gary.

Gary said the experience of two people he knows and who revealed their lives were saved thanks to the use of defibrillators, also prompted them into action.

One of them was Limavady postman, Ronnie Thompson, who said the life saving machine was used on him four times on September 28th last year.

Recalling the trauma, Ronnie said he was out on his postal round in Bells Hill when he felt a tightness in his chest and pain in his arm. Ronnie said when he was on his way to hospital, in the ambulance, the machine was used on him twice and a further two times after that.

Frank Owens Snr. in the calendar produced to raise funds for a defibrillator.

Frank Owens Snr. in the calendar produced to raise funds for a defibrillator.

“To all intents and purposes, I was dead,” said Ronnie. “It saved my life, no two ways about it. You think it can’t happen to you, but it can.”

Ronnie had surgery and went through rehabilitation, and is back at work.

“After the operation I felt like a new man,” he said.

Ronnie said it’s a great move by any business or organisation which has a defibrillator.

Gary owens said to help pay for the machine, money was raised through a locally produced Frank Owens calendar which was on sale in the bar.

The calendar features events hosted by the bar during the year such as the annual Limavady Jazz & Blues Festival as well as scenes from inside the bar. Also included in the calendar for the month of February is the face of the bar itself, Mr Frank Owens Snr. who will be 99 during the latter part of the month.

Gary and Damien thanked everyone who was involved in producing the calendar.

“We want people to know we have a defibrillator. I suppose it’s a bit like an umbrella. You take it with you hoping you never have to use it,” said Gary.

John McPoland, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, says all businesses who intend to make defibrillators available should complete the registration form on the NIAS website. He said defibrillators “play a key role in saving lives”.