Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Wednesday) proposed that City Councils consider working with Eircom to retrofit existing telephone boxes with defibrillator machines in towns and villages around the country, instead of simply destroying the boxes.
“This would be a sensible move from two perspectives. Firstly, it would allow us to find a useful purpose for the existing boxes, many of which are due to be demolished in the coming years as part of Eircom’s plans. Secondly, it would allow the public to know exactly where their nearest defibrillator is. People in towns and villages know where phone boxes are as they’re very visible, stand-alone structures in central locations which are open 24 hours a day.
“This approach is already underway in Northern Ireland and in towns and villages across the water in Britain. In order to prevent vandalism, anyone ringing 999 from the village regarding an individual with a potential heart problem will be given an access code for the vandal-proof steel box. I believe we could follow this example.
“Naturally this measure could incur some costs, but I believe that it could be helped by moving some existing defibrillators in particular towns or cities to these more obvious locations. In a bygone era, people used to say that phone boxes were – for them – a lifesaver. With this change, that could literally be the case.”