Four community defibrillators have been vandalised across Ireland in recent weeks, local first responders say.
It's led to calls for large fines to be introduced for anyone caught damaging the machines.
Automated External Defibrillators or AEDs are now in place in many towns and villages across the country, aimed at offering rapid support in medical emergencies.
However, locals in Blarney, Sallynoggin, Ballina and Carlow have all reported damage to machines in their areas recently.
John Fitzgerald – chairman of CFR Ireland - told Lunchtime Live these are life-saving machines that are being damaged.
He said: “These are usually put up with volunteer money and maintained by volunteers.
"To have them damaged like this is very disheartening, but more so it’s dangerous.”
He said that the devices are placed there for emergencies, explaining that people in cardiac arrest typically have 8-10 minutes to have CPR and defibrillators administered.
He said survival is “very, very unlikely” if the person doesn’t receive that rapid assistance.
In terms of the recent incidents, John said the device in Ballina was ‘actually stolen’ and hasn’t been found yet.
The door of the defibrillator machine in Sallynoggin was ripped off, while the glass was broken on the machines in Carlow and Blarney.
John said these machines are sensitive to the elements and therefore can’t be left exposed when such damage occurs.
Caroline Dargan of Carlow Town Community first responders says they’re very frustrated by the situation.
She said their own machine won’t be back in use until at least tomorrow, meaning there’ll have been four days without it available.
There are CCTV cameras in place in the area where the device was damaged, with gardaí now investigating the case.
Jeremy Downey of Blarney Community First Responders, meanwhile, said they’re at the “end of their tether” as this has now happened to their machines on five occasions.
He believes there should be a large mandatory fine for anyone who damages a defibrillator.