The Blessington Community First Responder Unit was set up in April 2005. As of Feb 2014 we have responded to 283 callouts in the local area. The unit consists of 14 active members from the local community who provide 24 hour, 7 day a week emergency assistance to the Eastern Regional Ambulance Service. This is a wholly voluntary service provided by members of the community for the community.
Each Responder receives intensive training from the Eastern Regional Ambulance Service before they are accredited under the Community First Responder Scheme. The Unit has a training session once a month to ensure members skills are kept up to date. Members are periodically assessed by the Ambulance Service to ensure they remain competent in their skills.
When someone from the area dials 999 or 112, they are transferred to the Ambulance Control Centre, who mobilise the ambulance service closest to Blessington, which is Naas. If all the Naas units are busy the call is transferred to Baltinglass. The Control Centre contacts the Community First Responder who is on-call and they will be given the address of the scene and the nature of the callout. The Responder then travels to the scene in their own car and administers care to the patient until the ambulance arrives. The average response time from receiving a callout to arriving at the scene is 6 minutes, on occasions it has been as quick as 4 minutes.
The Responder carries a medical bag which contains among other things oxygen and a defibrillator. The type of callouts that members have attended to date include chest pain, cardiac arrest, stroke, seizures, choking, fainting, shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties.
In 2013 we bought two public access defibrillators (AEDs) for use in the community, one is located in St. Kevin’s Hall and the other is located on the external wall of the West Wicklow House on Main St., Blessington. Members of our team have been providing AED training to members of the local businesses and schools on how to operate the public access AEDs in the event of an emergency.
We advertise twice a year for new recruits, keep any eye out for details of our next recruitment intake in the Newsletter or follow us on our Facebook page:
Log on to www.wicklowcfr.ie to learn more about this voluntary service.