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Move to let fire fighters act as first responders welcomed

Sinn Féin Kerry TD Pa Daly says the new move could drastically cut health emergency response times in the county, saving many cardiac arrest patients 


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SINN Féin TD Pa Daly has welcomed moves to allow the deployment of fire and rescue service personnel as first responders in health emergencies.

The move was confirmed by the National Ambulance Service and is set to see fire fighters and other qualified rescue workers called out in place of the ambulance service, when necessary, as first responders.

Deputy Daly said the move could have a very beneficial impact in such a geographically diffuse territory as Kerry, where the ambulance service is under constant pressure to meet call-time targets.

“The key area where this new protocol can be used is combatting cardiac deaths. Every second counts when people have a heart attack, and the ability of trained fire services personnel to respond has the potential to save lives,” Deputy Daly said.

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“The NAS’ confirmation must now be followed by serious engagement on the part of Kerry County Council, who are ultimately responsible for fire services in the county,” he warned.

“That engagement must be swift, considering the massive pressure on the ambulance service. Central government must also play a role and I have previously called for greater resources to be provided to both the fire service and National Ambulance Service in Kerry.

“The high degree of peripherality in the county, which has three peninsulas, means response times can be lengthy. There is a required level of service we need to keep people safe in Kerry, and all stakeholders must seize the opportunity today’s news presents,” Deputy Daly added.