Cardiac First Responders has a nationwide network to assist the ambulance service
The Community First Responders Group set up in Carrick-on-Suir to assist the the national ambulance service in dealing with local heart attack cases, is organising a meeting this Thursday in a bid to attract more volunteers.
Carrick-on-Suir Community First Responders Group meeting takes place in O'Ceallachain's Pub at 7.30pm today, June 22. The Group's Secretary Adam Hunt has appealed for a large turnout of people interested in joining up.
He said they currently have about 8 volunteers but need more to train in manual CPR and operating a defibrillator in order for the Group to be approved by and used by the national ambulance service.
Mr Hunt said the nearest available ambulance is 20 minutes drive from Carrick-on-Suir and the aim of the First Responders Group is to act as a back up to the ambulance paramedics by attending to a heart attack or cardiac arrest patient until the ambulance arrives.
"When someone goes into cardiac arrest and 999 is dialled, the first thing they will do is despatch the nearest ambulance and the second thing they do is check to see if there is a Community First Responders Scheme in the area," he explained.
"If there is, the Scheme is alerted and a First Responder goes to the scene and starts CPR on the patient.”
Adam, who is a member of Carrick-on-Suir's Red Cross Branch, said the First Responders work was all about trying to keep oxygen going to the brain of a person suffering from a heart attack until the paramedics arrive.
The sooner you can start CPR afer a heart attack, the better your chances of survival, he points out.
He outlined that First Responder volunteers must be Garda vetted. You don't need to be trained in CPR or use of a defibrillator as training will be provided by an authorised instructor.
He described the manual CPR and defibrillator training as "straightforward" and said the course takes about three hours.
Mr Hunt also pointed out there were numerous other roles in the First Responder Group, apart from providing cardiac arrest treatment, that need to be filled.
"We hope there will be a big turn out to the meeting. People need to realise they could save a person's life. It could be your next door neighbour, it could be your brother.
“The more people that are trained and upskilled the better. We might get to give someone a chance they might otherwise not have.”
Anybody looking to help out please come along on the night or contact Eddie Reade on 0833253337 or Michael Hunt on 087 287 9049.