The National Ambulance Service attends over 300,000 calls per year with approx. 5,000 of these deemed to be serious and life threating cardiac emergencies. Community First Responders are an integral part of dealing with these emergencies in the community in that they provide the vital lifesaving treatment to patients while an ambulance is on route.
We have had great success so far with this programme with approx. 250 CFR schemes and 2,000 volunteers around Ireland providing first responder and / or community training on a regular basis with a further 60 public access defibrillator programmes located nationwide. However our goal is to ensure that every patient who needs resuscitation treatment across Ireland gets timely access to a community response while awaiting an ambulance.
In late 2021, with the support of the Community Engagement Team in the National Ambulance Service, a Communications Working Group was formed made up of CFR representatives from all Ireland who volunteered their time and expertise to develop a strategy to recruit and retain more community first responders. Part of this strategy included developing a website with a national directory which details how to join or create a CFR scheme along with a promotional video which demonstrate the work of CFRs as well as professionally designed promotional materials which can be used nationwide.
In short, the aim is to tell the public what a CFR is, where your local scheme is or how easy it is to develop a scheme with the support of the National Ambulance Service and CFR Ireland.
This programme was funded by the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy for Ireland and we were delighted to work with Mango Media, RTE, SG Websites and Link Studios in the development of these materials. We were also privileged to gain the support of the RTE Fair City team as they allowed us access to the Carrigstown set to shoot elements of the video which proved to be very successful. We understand we are one of the only external agencies to be allowed access to the set and for that we are very grateful.
As part of the launch, we were joined by a very special guest, Emma Doyle from County Meath – Emma is a mother of two in her 30s. Two years ago she suffered a cardiac arrest in her home while feeding her new born baby boy George. For a young fit and healthy woman this was obviously unexpected and traumatic for Emma but thankfully due to telephone instructed CPR completed by her husband Damien and the speedy arrival of the Ambulance, she has made a full recovery. Emma has allowed us to share her remarkable story about the importance of the chain of survival as part of our recruitment campaign.
Thank you to all the members of the CFR Communications Working Group :
- Audrey Murray
- Con Ferry
- Gearóid Ó Cinnéide
- Iain Grant
- Jonathan Lynch ( NAS )
- Kevin O’Leary
- Oisin Cahill
- Padraic Loughnane
- Stephen Griffin