In the first initiative of its kind for the St John Ambulance charity, which specialises in the delivery of first aid and CPR training, its volunteers in the Glanmire Division are spearheading the establishment of a CFR group in the area.
They held a community information meeting last week after which almost 40 people registered their interest in getting involved. The start-up group even won a defibrillator while attending a CFR conference at the weekend.
Gerard Doyle, the superintendent of the St John Ambulance Glanmire Division and a paramedic in the National Ambulance Service (NAS), said the charity is, at a national level, watching with interest the development of the Glanmire CFR group.
He said if it proves successful, St John Ambulance hopes to adopt the same approach and use it as a template for its divisions nationwide to work with local communities towards the establishment of CFR groups.
It could lead to the establishment of more than a dozen such groups in communities around the country.
“There are dozens of CFR groups who depend on fundraising for their equipment, for their training, and even down to the hiring of a room for that training,” said Mr Doyle.
But we in St John Ambulance already have the equipment, we have a building here in Glanmire, we have all the training mannequins, and we have several qualified CFR instructors in our division. It just makes sense for us to get involved.
The specially-trained CFR volunteers are dispatched by NAS ambulance control at the same time as an ambulance to incidents of chest pain, breathing difficulty, choking, stroke, and cardiac arrest, within a three-mile radius of their community.
Because the on-call volunteers live or work in the area, they can respond within minutes and often arrive on scene before ambulance paramedics. And in critical situations where seconds count, their interventions have helped save lives.
The Glanmire CFR group will cover an area including Glanmire, Sallybrook, Riverstown, Brooklodge, Knockraha, Lisgoold, Glounthaune, Little Island, Mayfield, Upper Glanmire, White’s Cross, Carrignavar, and Watergrasshill. There are a number of automated external defibrillators in the area already.