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IRISH COMMUNITY AIR AMBULANCE LAUNCHES CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN TO FUND LIFE SAVING KITS

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The Irish Community Air Ambulance has launched a Christmas campaign to fund life saving kits. The charity has plans to further expand its team of Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders and to supply them with vital equipment and new specialist response vehicles. Pic: David Keane

Charity to invest €180,000 with new ground teams in Meath, Kildare and Waterford

The Irish Community Air Ambulance has launched a new campaign to further expand its team of Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders and to supply them with vital equipment and new specialist response vehicles.

The charity’s ground-based team of Emergency Medical Responders have responded to more than 500 medical emergencies during the first 10 months of the year including Creeslough, Co Donegal. Two of the organisation’s volunteer doctors were tasked to the tragedy and were in a position to establish two temporary Intensive Care Units at the scene to treat the most injured with the support of the National Ambulance Service.

This Christmas, the Irish Community Air Ambulance is asking businesses and supporters to donate whatever they can through its website. A basic responder bag costs €1,500, enhanced responder bags are €3,000 and assessment kits cost €200.

The organisation now has a network of Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders on the ground in Dublin, Mayo and Donegal. This is in addition to the helicopter  which is based in Rathcool, Co Cork. It works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is tasked to treat serious and life threatening emergencies.

The Irish Community Air Ambulance plans to invest €180,000 in upgrading three of its existing rapid response vehicles in 2023. More vehicles staffed by Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders are due to take to the roads next year in counties Meath, Kildare, Wicklow and Waterford. That will bring the total number of critical care doctors volunteering with the service to nine. 

CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said, “Our Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders are highly qualified and the majority work as Consultants and Specialist Registrars in Emergency Departments across the country. They are willing to leave their families to respond to serious incidents and major emergencies in their local areas whenever they can, often late at night, early in the morning and at weekends. Their unique skill sets and expertise allows them to carry out life saving measures at the side of the road, in homes and workplaces. We want to expand our ground services to new locations across the country; however, we need the support of community fundraisers, donors and businesses to be able to do that.”

Micheál Sheridan added, “This is a very exciting time for us as we re-focus on expanding our team of volunteer Emergency Medical Responders across Ireland. We want to build and support a network of highly skilled and equipped volunteers to provide emergency medical care in critical situations and to reach people in need and to protect life in our communities but we will only be able to achieve this with the support of these communities.”

Dr Andrew Patton has been volunteering with the Irish Community Air Ambulance since January 2021. He works as a Specialist Registrar in Emergency Medicine at St Vincent’s University Hospital  and responded to 150 calls so far this year in his own time.

Dr Patton said “Our specialist emergency medical response vehicles contain vital equipment that you would usually find in an Emergency Department. This equipment is fully funded by donations to the Irish Community Air Ambulance. We work closely with the emergency services and together we can begin a patient’s critical care or intensive care journey at the scene. When we intervene earlier we give patients the best chance of survival.”

In September, the Irish Community Air Ambulance launched a fundraising campaign to raise €100,000 to purchase portable ventilators. The target has been reached and the advanced life saving equipment is set to be installed in each critical care vehicle next year. 

For more information about the Irish Community Air Ambulance or to donate visit: https://communityairambulance.ie/

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