Publically Accessible Defibrillator installed at Carrick-a-Rede

A picture of the new heart defibrillator installed at Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

We are delighted to share the news that a new heart defibrillator has been installed along the 1km path leading to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, a popular destination for visitors along the Causeway Coastline.

The new piece of life saving equipment has been positioned at the steps leading down to the exhilarating bridge experience where it will be publically accessible 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Stephanie Leckey, Community Resuscitation Lead, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service describes the National Trust as 'forward thinking'.

She said: 'We are delighted that the National Trust is forward thinking making their visitors a priority even outside opening hours. Statistics show that 1494 incidents of cardiac arrest occurred outside a hospital between April 2017 and March 2018 in Northern Ireland alone.  By ensuring the defibrillator is publically accessible, the National Trust are working towards strengthening the ‘Chain of Survival’ in an emergency situation.

'Most importantly I’m delighted that the team at have registered this life saving device with the ambulance service. This means, we can quickly direct those who need it in an emergency to its location and provide the code to open its storage cabinet.'

When should you use a heart defibrillator?

'It is extremely important for the public to know that a defibrillator should only be used in a cardiac arrest situation when the heart has stopped pumping the blood around the body,' Stephanie continues. 'It is vital that CPR is carried out until the defibrillator is brought to the casualty. Once the pads of the device are applied to the chest of the casualty the defibrillator will audibly instruct the bystander what to do and if a shock is advised a shot of electricity is given which effectively stops the heart and restarts it again. Any member of the public can help save a life by starting CPR and using a defibrillator if there is one available.

Spotting the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest

Often people confuse a heart attack and cardiac arrest as the same thing, but they are very different with different symptoms, signs and treatment as Stephanie explains:  'A heart attack is when a problem occurs with the plumbing system of the heart and the blood flow to the heart is blocked. Someone experiencing a heart attack will look unwell but conscious and will be able to communicate how they’re feeling. A sudden cardiac arrest is when the ‘electrics’ of the heart are faulty, the heart malfunctions and suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating properly. Someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest will be unconscious, not breathing normally and unable to communicate.

Only 1 in 10 people survive a cardiac arrest in Northern Ireland, every second counts in an emergency, the sooner CPR is started and a defibrillator is used the greater the chance of survival.'

Ciara McClements, our Visitor Experience Manager, said; 'Thank you to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service for sharing such important information around our new life saving equipment. Carrick-a-Rede is a busy tourist attraction and we want to ensure that all our visitors have a very safe and enjoyable time with us on site. With visitor numbers high we acknowledged that this increases our need to have an additional heart defibrillator on site, as you never know when this may be needed to save a life. We currently have a heart defibrillator located at the tea room, but this additional equipment located outdoors along the 1km path down to the bridge will mean it is publically accessible to everyone at all times.'