Last year, my Department completed a pilot scheme to test a model of cascade training in ELS and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED). The pilot was designed to test the feasibility of training a number of volunteers in ELS skills and in the use of an AED to the level of being able to cascade the training to others. The volunteers were from organisations involved in sport, including the IFA, GAA, and some district councils. The pilot scheme was completed and evaluated in 2012. The evaluation led to two key conclusions. The first is that cascade training is feasible and is a viable way of increasing the pool of people who can provide emergency life support or use an AED in an emergency. The second conclusion is that it is essential that an organisation taking part in this type of scheme must have commitment from its senior leadership or management and that such commitment must be communicated to people throughout the organisation.
I pay tribute to all across Northern Ireland involved in this valuable work, including Health and Social Care and a number of voluntary organisations, such as the British Heart Foundation, ABC for Life, the Red Cross and St John Ambulance, as well as the sporting bodies.