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The Lismore Clinic, Ballyrafter,
Lismore, Co Waterford.
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First Response Team for Lismore

Did you know that it takes a minimum of 27 minutes for an ambulance to reach Lismore in response to an emergency? And that’s just if the ambulance is in Dungarvan ready to go. If the ambulance has been called to another situation, it could take up to 2 hours. In the case of medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes and choking episodes, where the heart has stopped pumping or the patient has stopped breathing, a person’s chance of survival decreases by 10% for every minute that passes without basic life support and defibrillation. Therefore it is crucial that help is provided within the first 10 minutes.
In order to adress this very serious problem, the Lismore Community First Response Programme is recruiting volunteers from the local community to train as ‘Community First Responders’. These volunteers will be contacted by ambulance control to to attend medical emergencies in their local area. A community first responder will be able to reach the patient within a few minutes, and provide first aid, perfom CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), and use a defibrillator where necessary. This will help to start and maintain the chain of survival during the crucial early stages, until a fully equipped ambulance arrives.

The scheme is being organised by local GP, Dr. Noelle Quann and David Kiely from the Irish Red Cross, both of whom have contributed a great deal of time and hard work on a completely voluntary basis to get the scheme up and running. According to Dr. Quann, “The Lismore Community First Response Programme has the support of the HSE, The Irish Red Cross, local doctors and all emergency services. It is designed to supplement their services, not to replace them.”

I was privileged to be among the first 11 volunteers to qualify as a community responder last weekend, having completed the 3 day intensive course which included training in responding to accidents and injuries, and various other medical emergencies in both adults and children. The course includes training in first aid for a wide variety of situation, CPR and use of a defibrillator.

The training is delivered jointly by Dr. Noelle Quann and David Kiely, and is both interesting and enjoyable. They both have a real talent for making a serious subject really come to life in an often humorous way. It is also a wonderful experience to work as part of a team with other local people, knowing that some day that teamwork may help to save someone’s life.

A second training programme is being organised for Saturday and Sunday 3rd and 4th November, and the Lismore Community First Response programme is looking for more volunteers to train as Community First Responders. The training is suitable for anyone who wishes to take part, and may be especially useful for anyone working in an environment where first aid training could be useful, such as schools and sports clubs. However, if you don’t feel that being a first responder is right for you, volunteers are also needed to help with administration and fundraising.

For further information or to volunteer, please contact Dr Noelle Quann, 086-403 4593 or David Kiely on 087-251 4893, or check out the Lismore Community Response Programme Facebook Page.