Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Membership boost helps First Responders’ expansion

By Diarmuid Pepper

The south Armagh area has received a huge boost with news that the Crossmaglen Community First Responders are able to expand their response radius thanks to an increase in membership. 

The radius they are able to cover has expanded from five to seven miles, which will make the local area safer for so many people. 

When illness strikes, mere minutes can often be the difference between life and death.

Each minute that passes wherein a victim doesn’t receive treatment, their chance of survival decreases by 10%.

Statistics like these underscore the incredibly vital work that is carried out by organisations like the Crossmaglen Community First Responders. 

Speaking to The Examiner, Edele McGeown said she was delighted to be able to expand the first responders group to 25 volunteers. 

“We boosted the membership by holding ‘Restart a Heart’ events in October last year, where we provided free CPR training evenings in local football clubs to train members of the public in basic lifesaving skills,” explained Edele.

“This gave people a feel for what exactly the first responder role involves and on the night we asked for expressions of interest in getting involved in the group.

“From this, we gained ten new volunteers who completed their training earlier in the year and at the request of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service we felt we now had the resources to expand our area to help service more people.”

Crossmaglen Community First Responders will be holding further ‘Restart a Heart’ events in October of this year and anyone interested in attending are asked to keep an eye on social media and within this newspaper for dates and venues. 

Edele also gave invaluable advice to The Examiner about how to handle emergency calls, where every second counts. 

“In the case of emergency, you reach the First Responders by dialling 999. We are currently dispatched primarily to cardiac arrests, chest pains, drownings, chokings and diabetic emergencies as these are the situations in which we have the skills to make a difference. 

“It’s important when making the call to ensure you give a clear description of the problem and what happened in order to ensure the appropriate help is dispatched. 

“We appreciate this can be difficult in the panic of an emergency situation but answering the Emergency Medical Dispatchers question clearly and quickly ensures the group is dispatched if it’s a call we are authorised to attend.”

If you would like to get involved with the Crossmaglen Community First Responders, you can contact any committee member or send a message via their Facebook page: