A fire brigade crew successfully resuscitated an unresponsive patient when no HSE ambulance was available locally to respond to the emergency call, reports Pat Flynn.
The incident occurred on Tuesday in the West Clare resort town of Kilkee when the local fire service was requested to respond to a patient in cardiac arrest.
At the time, the local ambulance in Kilrush was on another call and so there was no emergency ambulance available in West Clare.
The National Ambulance Service requested assistance from the fire service and firefighters from Kilkee responded to the scene just a kilometre from their station.
In the meantime, a rapid response advanced paramedic unit and ambulance from Ennis, 60 kilometres away, were dispatched to Kilkee with the first vehicle arriving at the scene at 3.15pm.
At the house, fire service personnel commenced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), administered several shocks with a defibrillator and had successfully resuscitated the patient before the ambulance arrived.
The Emergency Aeromedical Service (EAS) air ambulance was also called and after the patient had been stabilised at the scene, he was transported by ambulance to the local GAA field where the helicopter was standing by.
The patient was transferred to the helicopter and flown to University Hospital Limerick for treatment. The flight took just 15 minutes while the same journey by road would have taken over an hour.