Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Special recognition award for Community First Responders

Crossmaglen Community First Responders has received an award in recognition of the invaluable work it they do within the community. 

At an awards ceremony in Craigavon Civic Centre, the Crossmaglen community group were formally acknowledged for their contributions.

Edele McGeown spoke to The Examiner in the aftermath of the First Responders’ award win in Craigavon.

“The award was from the PSNI and was given to us as a result of a number of callouts that we had attended throughout the year where we working alongside the PSNI in administering CPR and assisting their work.”

This recognition from the PSNI was especially pleasing for the Crossmaglen Community First Responders, as community groups rarely receive such commendation from the PSNI.

“It’s a really big achievement for us all, particularly because it is from the PSNI,” explained Edele. “It is not often that they recognise community groups. Indeed, we were the only community group at the awards ceremony. 

Members of the Crossmaglen Community First Responders group who received an award in recognition of their work.

“So it was a big honour to get a nomination in the first place, and it was an immensely proud moment to receive the award. They were very impressed with the level of commitment and level of skills that we as a group have.”

The skills of the First Responders go beyond medical skills, as Edele revealed.

“We have the medical skills to deal with the patient, but also the aftermath care so that we can provide to families. Unfortunately, a number of patients died and we were able to offer much needed support to their families. We were able to offer practical support and this was something that really impressed and led to us being nominated for the award.” 

The Crossmaglen Community First Responders work in unison with the PSNI and Fire and Rescue Services, and the PSNI often provide assistance to the First Responders also as Edele explained.

“We often work with the PSNI in administering CPR. When someone is not breathing, we will sometimes be dispatched alongside the PSNI. This is because we may be able to get to the area quicker and to offer this life-saving help as we await the PSNI.

“The PSNI also help us deliver our work. For example, if someone were to collapse in the Square, they can provide us with privacy and protection and have amenities which can be of assistance.”

The Crossmaglen Community First Responders have been going from strength to strength in recent months, as evidenced by its recent expansion in response radius and increase in membership. 

While the volunteers don’t do the work they do for the awards, the First Responders said they were nonetheless delighted to see their work recognised.