Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

First Responder Scheme calls for volunteers and continued fundraising

As the fundraising drive continues for the imminent establishment of the Crossmaglen Community and District First Responder Scheme in September, Damien Martin, the man behind the initiative, extended his thanks to generous contributors who have helped greatly to facilitate the scheme, which will be a vital lifeline to the people of Crossmaglen and beyond.

Heartsine Belfast have already donated a defibrillator to the group while Diageo Ireland have kindly sponsored a full kit bag. Damien extended special thanks to the Byrne family for sponsorship of a second full kit bag and Lorraine Morgan from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for sponsorship of Hi Viz ambulance vests – all of which are essential for use in response to emergency calls.

The much anticipated First Responder Scheme received final approval from Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) early this month and training for volunteers will begin in earnest at the beginning of September.

First Responders are trained to offer assistance to a casualty, bridging the gap between an incident and the arrival of appropriate emergency services.  In rural areas, such as Crossmaglen, the existence of such an initiative could mean the difference in life and death while a casualty awaits emergency medical help. In general, First Responders will deal with medical emergencies such as victims of heart attacks/ strokes/choking/seizures.  They will not be deployed to attend trauma calls or dangerous situations.

With the fundraising drive gathering pace, the group is keen to highlight the need for continued donations towards the cost of essential training for First Responded volunteers.

A wide range of people are still required to make the scheme viable and basic requirements are that volunteers are over 18, have a licence and are insured.

Representatives from community, voluntary and sporting groups, interested individuals and any other appropriate agencies are encouraged to attend the upcoming meeting on Wednesday 5th August at 7.30pm in Crossmaglen Community Centre which will finalise the registration for training which will take place on September 12th.