Monday 26 September 2016

Smartphone apps and Eircodes could save lives

Published 14/06/2016 | 02:30

Farmers have been urged to use their Eircodes and smartphone apps to help emergency services locate them during serious accidents, writes Darragh McCullough.

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While use of the Eircode system is still low, ambulance teams said that the system had to potential to save lives.

"We've lost valuable time going up and down country roads trying to locate farmyards during critical incidents," said Kieran Henry, who works as a paramedic with both ground and air rescue services in Cork and Athlone.

He was addressing farmers who attended a farm safety and accident training day near Currans in Kerry last week. Farmers learned what to do if they encountered victims of serious falls, cuts, crushes or slurry gas poisoning, alongside medics who were also being trained on how to deal with farming accidents.

However, organisers were keen to stress the importance of locating an incident for outsiders.

"Eircodes are a fail-safe way of being able to find a location regardless of landmarks, and even if a farmer doesn't really use it or know it off by heart, it should be written or taped to the back of a phone so that it can always be accessed," he said.

Smartphone apps that relay a person's exact whereabouts are an even more powerful solution according to Mr Henry.

"The problem for farmers is that many accidents happen out in the field well away from the farmyard. Any app that shares an exact location with first responders is a big help."

One such app is 112 Where Are U, which will call emergency services, and let them know the caller is in trouble even if they are unable to speak. It also automatically sends location information and any other personal data that the dialler has in-putted. "This can also be important because with electric gates may be preventing access to a premises, so having somebody else familiar with the site can be very important," said Mr Henry.

See more from the safety day on page 8

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