New phone system can help save lives in rural areas
A man whose mother died after suffering a heart attack has set up a special phone system to help first responders get to the scene ahead of ambulances in rural areas.
Edward Kinane (39), from Drum, Co Tipperary, suffered the loss of his mother Nora (62) in 2010.
He realised more villages across Ireland were being affected by lengthy ambulance waiting times.
But he had a "light-bulb moment" when he realised he could use an office-type phone diversion system to ensure rural villages were hooked up to 24/7 local assistance.
The IT engineer, who works for Echo IT in Nenagh, has set up systems in his home village and five others nearby, but is hoping the HSE will help roll out the initiative nationally.
The system works when a person involved in an emergency phones the local first responders' line and the call is diverted to five different mobile phone numbers. One is always there to pick up, Mr Kinane said.
Some rural villages have their own first responders' service, but Mr Kinane said the responsibility had rested with one person who carried an emergency mobile phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"There was too much responsibility on one person - even if she was only taking a shower, she had to have the phone," Mr Kinane said.
Mr Kinane said he was inspired by crime TV show 'The Wire', which used a phone diversion system if one phone wasn't picked up. He adopted the Blueface phone system to develop his plan.
"We had one village nearby where a child was choking and the ambulance was contacted, but the community responders were on the scene first and gave the child CPR," he said.
"The paramedics are always impressed when they see the community responders there."