One of the busiest years to date for Arklow first responders
Arklow Community First Responders are growing every year and 2017 was one of the busiest yet for the voluntary group which was activated by the National Ambulance Service 253 times in 12 months.
While the year got off to an unfortunate start with an incident of vandalism that hit the national headlines, it soon took a turn for the better with lots of great work done in the community, training and of course call-outs to patients in need.
'2017 was one of our busiest, productive and most eventful years in the group's history,' said John Summers of Arklow Community First Responders.
'The year got off to an unpleasant start with the total destruction of a public access defibrillator at 7-Eleven by a trio of mindless thugs. However, the Arklow community showed its true resilience and spirit by very quickly replacing it within a matter of days through donations made to Billy Nolan in the 7-Eleven store.'
'The rest of the year saw our group grow and expanded further. We decided to operate as a stand alone CFR group under the guidance of the National Ambulance Service alone; we expanded our volunteer community first responder numbers from 12 to 20 and also added another CPR instructor, easing the work load on our existing members in our aim of providing the maximum voluntary cover possible for our community,' he said.
During the year there was good news for the wider community when Arklow's Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) numbers also increased from four to six.
According to Mr Summers, there were many highlights throughout 2017.
'We had the privilege of acting as Grand Marshals at the St. Patrick's Day Parade; we held a public access defibrillator information evening and had the pleasure of performing CPR demonstrations for sports clubs, scout troops, community organisations and at our maritime and Seabreeze festivals.
'As our numbers grew we invested in the latest training equipment and uniforms for all our members. We added two new kit bags to our weekly roster each containing its own defibrillator and other essential life saving equipment,' he said.
Mr Summers said that all of these advancements would not be possible without community support and he paid tribute to the people of Arklow for their support.
'All of the above improvements to our group would not have been possible without the continued support and generosity of the Arklow Community and for that we are very grateful and would like to express our sincere thanks'