Blarney Community First Responders want learning to save a life to be your New Year Resolution

Could learning to save a life be your New Year Resolution? If so, then Blarney Community First Responders are here to help you make your resolution a reality.

Founded in October 2105, Blarney Community First Responders Unit became one of nearly 150 volunteer teams dotted across the country, all united behind the same goals; to save lives. Following three deaths relating to sudden adult death in the village local women Deborah Lynch, a committed critical care nurse at CUH, and Kate Durrant got together to turn Blarney into a First Responder Community, a scheme that is known to improve critical outcomes in the event of cardiac arrest, stroke and chest pain. Following months of fundraising and with the purchase of two defibrillators, and nine intensive training sessions, forty five local people became certified in prehospital emergency care, with 13 committed volunteers becoming First Responders and offering a 24 hour, 7 day a week service to all those who live within a 5km radius of Blarney.

Community First Responders (CFRs) are civilian responders who are trained to international standards in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation and oxygen therapy. They are part of the local CFR scheme, which is linked to the National Ambulance Service. When the emergency services are alerted to a case of cardiac arrest, chest pain, choking or stroke, a civilian responder from the local CFR scheme is automatically dispatched to the scene along with the ambulance services. The local CFRs can often attend the scene before an ambulance will arrive, and in cases where time is critical such as cardiac arrest, this can save lives.

Blarney Community First Responders are fully trained to train you. Blarney Community First Responders four team leaders Deborah Lynch, Barry Hoare, John Foley and Jeremy Downey have recently undertaken extensive training and are now qualified to teach the gold standard HeartSaver AED course, a 4 1/2 hour training course which, on successful completion, certifies you for two years, and, more importantly, will give you the confidence and the skills to give CPR and use an AED if ever you should need to.

Blarney Community First Responders publicly accessible defibrillator is placed outside Blarney Tourist Office and can be used by all in the event of an emergency. The unit provides recorded instruction to shock a heart back into rhythm before paramedics arrive. It must be noted that those with prior training will be much more comfortable using a defibrillator and giving CPR, but even if you are not trained PLEASE try your best to help as you wait for the ambulance and first responders to arrive. The AED (defibrillator) will talk you through how to use the machine but remember that giving chest compressions is equally important. To do this effectively you need to press down hard with both hands on the chest, between the nipple line, aiming for a rate of 100/120 compressions per minute.

How do I contact Blarney Community First Responders? The simple answer to this is that you don’t! In case of an emergency phone 999 or 112 immediately and they will dispatch the Ambulance services and the First Responders simultaneously. Please DO NOT phone a responder directly, even if you know them, they may not be holding the AED and by phoning them rather than 999 you will delay treatment reaching the patient.

I would love to know how to give CPR but don’t feel this is the right time for me to become a First Responder, can I still train? Yes, training is for everyone, and will give you the confidence and the skills to give CPR and use an AED if ever you should need to. Young people under 18 who are interested can also train with us, and receive a family and friends certificate. A great life skill to have, and a good addition to show on a CV. These are life skills that everyone should possess.

I’m involved in a local sports club and would love to train at least a couple of people from each team. Will you come and train us? Yes please, we would love to! One of our goals is to train at least two people in every business, organisation, club and school in our area, and we are happy to come and train any number of people in any local organisation, business, school or community group. Please call Kate on 087 2330398 for further details, or book into one of our regular training sessions which are advertised on Blarney Community First Responders facebook page.

I would love help Blarney Community First Responders, but I am not in a position to join your group, is there anything I can do? If you cannot train or are unable to go ‘Call Outs’ we would love your help with fundraising, our ongoing costs are not insignificant so fundraising in an ongoing challenge for us.

You have two defibrillators. Do you need more equipment to help give a better service? We have two defibrillators, one of which is wall mounted and static outside Blarney Tourist Office, and one which remains with our Responders on call. Ideally, we would love if every Responder, or at least every team leader, carried an AED, so we do not have to waste any time retrieving a defibrillator and can get to the person needing our help fast. On a regular basis we need to replace AED pads, face masks and gloves, all of these are non reusable and need to be replaced after each call. It is our hope to purchase more training equipment to train larger groups in the community, currently we have equipment to train small groups, we would love to expand this.

I would love to become a Community First Responder, what steps do I need to take? CFR’s must be over 18 years of age and will require the following: Full Driving Licence ID Photo x 2 Proof of Garda Clearance Confirmation letter from Motor Insurance Company Signed copy of NAS Confidentiality Document A reasonable level of fitness is also required to become a CFR, and you should be able to carry a 15/20kg kit bag and perform CPR for 20 minutes. For more details phone Kate on 087 2330398, and we will talk you through the details.

And how much time do I need to commit? As much or as little as you can give, we respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so we’re sure to have a spot for you somewhere!

Blarney Community First Responders have access to five AEDS in our community, plus our own mobile unit which is held by our on call team. The AED’s in our community are sited at the following locations; Blarney Tourist Office Blarney GAA Club Waterloo Inn, Waterloo Road, Blarney Blarney Woollen Mills Security Office Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney (School Hours)

Thank you! Many thanks to the committed volunteers who have continued to provide 24 hour first responder cover since October 2015. To our four team leaders and trainers Deborah Lynch, Barry Hoare, John Foley and Jeremy Downey. To our volunteer responders Kate, Mick, Karen, Rosario, Deirdre, Esther, Betty, Jennifer, Helena and Lisa, who are drawn from all areas of the local community. To Dr Una O’Halloran and Blarney Sergeant Aidan O’Connell who have been on Blarney Community First Responders board with Kate Durrant and Deborah Lynch since the service went live in October 2015.

The life of the person you love could be in your hands! Blarney Community First Responders will be holding Heartsaver AED courses on January 21st and 28th All are welcome to come and train. The course will be held in Blarney, starts at 10am, and lasts for approx 4 1/2 hours. A subsidised fee of €65 will apply and places are strictly allocated on receipt of booking and payment of fee. No place will be held under any other circumstances. Please note there is no onus on any person completing this course to become an active CFR within our group. While we are always looking for new responders, and welcome all enquiries, this course is open to everyone and anyone willing to learn all aspects of CPR and use of a Defibrillator (AED). You can apply via Blarney Community First Responders facebook page or call Kate on 087 2330398.