First Responders are a chain of survival in emergency situations
Audrey Dwyer, Community First Responder from Newcastle and Cathal Gallagher, Community First Responder from Saggart

First Responders are a chain of survival in emergency situations

THE Four Districts Community First Responders are hoping to extend their service to Brittas – and are appealing to people in the community to join the group and learn some life-saving skills.

The group has a team of 20 volunteers who cover Rathcoole, Saggart, Newcastle and Citywest, and are trained to administer CPR and use a defibrillator if someone in the community is experiencing a cardiac event.

This vital assistance is one part of the “chain of survival” in emergency situations, according to advanced paramedic and chairman of the Four Districts Community First Responders, Alan Stankus-Kenna.

Alan, who lives in Rathcoole, told The Echo: “It’s part of the whole concept of the chain of survival in emergency situations like cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest.

“The first part is the National Ambulance Service being contacted, then CPR and early use of a defibrillator.

“Having first responders in the community increases the possibility of survival because they can be there within minutes.”

As soon as a call is put through to the ambulance service about a suspected cardiac or respiratory arrest, a text is automatically sent to community first responders in the area so they can administer aid in advance of the ambulance’s arrival.

While Alan is encouraging people from Brittas to come forward to become community first responders, anyone within the Four Districts is welcome to join.

“It’s like anything, you won’t know [if it’s for you] until you take a step forward and ask for the details,” he said.

“It’s open to anybody, because anybody can be trained in high-quality CPR. The time commitment is three hours a month, across two training sessions.

“The training is provided for free. Everybody within the group makes that commitment because of the concept of being able to give back…and the possibility that they could save a life.

“You get back more than you put in. For a small amount of effort, you can make a big difference.”

The group holds training sessions in St Finian’s GAA Club in Newcastle twice a month, and their next major training day will on February 12.

Alan has asked that people who might be interested in joining the group contact him via WhatsApp on 085 739 8820 with their name and any queries they may have.

Further information can also be found on the Four Districts Community First Responders’ Facebook page.

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