A group of local first responders are looking volunteers to launch groups in the Dundalk area.
For the last four years there have been defibrillators at various points around Dundalk, but in October, the Haggardstown/Blackrock Community First Responder started an call system in tandem with the HSE, so that they would be available to attend at the scene where somone had stopped breathing.
First responder schemes comprise of members of the public who volunteer to assist their local community by attending emergency calls within an agreed radius of where they live or work and providing basic emergency care.
“We have a mobile with us at all times and we will get a call from the ambulance service. It’s a stop gap measure,” says PRO of the group, Barry Hennessy.
“We respond to a person within an agreed radius of our area, and we will treat them in the intervening time before the ambulance gets there.”
The group have responded on five occasions in the last 6 momnths, compared to defibrillators being used twice in the last five years.
“The public are afraid to use defibrillators. Often they are afraid that they may hurt the person or do further damage, which nearly never the case,” says Barry.
The group want to invite other groups to form in Dundalk.
“You need roughly 10 people for the rota system. The HSE can provide training or we can provide training ourselves.”
The founder of the group, Joan McAdam, also can provide training.
“It would suit people who are currently out of employment or those recently retired.
“It works well through community groups and through sports clubs.”
The group have already been in contact with a number of GAA clubs and the church groups and hope to help roll the scheme out across North Louth.
“The service can make a real difference.
“Attending to someone who has stopped breathing can extend their life long enough until they can receive attention from an ambulance and it is often the difference between life and death.”
It is also important that people who are first responders out there need to update their training every two years, which Joan McAdam specilaises in.
If you think that you could be a first responder or would like to set up a group in your area please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.