Despite only being eight weeks old, the newly formed Rosslare Harbour Area First Responders group has already attended the scene of nearly 20 emergencies.
The volunteer group was set up to provide emergency support to paramedics and ambulances in the event of a cardiac arrest in the area. Linked in with '999' operators, the group will be informed if there's an emergency locally and will often get there before the ambulance and provide initial CPR, as well as using local knowledge to guide the ambulance crew to the scene.
The group was founded by Red Cross Volunteer Peter McDaid who founded a similar group in Passage West. Having a second home in Rosslare, he put out the feelers to set up a first responders group there too. A few weeks later, Peter had trained in a total of eight volunteers and the group was ready to go.
'Basically, we use local knowledge and assess and take control of the situation,' explains volunteer Kevin MacCormick. 'Then we liaise with the 999 operator and the ambulance service to ensure they get to the scene. If it's serious, we can begin CPR.'
The group has now started a major fundraising campaign to try and equip each volunteer with their own mobile defibrillator and saw great support as they set out their stall at Murphy's SuperValu, where they had information, demonstrations and offered people the opportunity to try CPR on their special dummies.
With defibrillators costing in the region of €1,200, the group are hoping to raise in the region of €10,000 for equipment and the reaction so far has been fantastic in the local community.
'So far we've raised enough for almost three defibrillators, so we're nearly half way there,' said Kevin.
'We have a few coffee mornings and things coming up to continue the fundraising going forward. We've had a lot of tragedies of young people dying after a cardiac arrest lately and if we could even prevent a small percentage of that, it'd all be worthwhile.'
Those interested in getting involved in the Rosslare Harbour Area First Responders or lending a hand with fundraising can visit their Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.