Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Volunteer responders attend first emergency call

Members of The Crossmaglen and District First Responders team were dispatched to their very first emergency call last week. The vital lifeline for south Armagh, which began operating last month, has proven its benefit to the district after helping to treat an individual during an emergency call out last Monday night.  As a result of the efforts of the volunteer emergency responders and paramedics from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), it is understood the person involved is making a full recovery.

The First Responders scheme finally went live on 3rd November, following more than twelve months of lobbying and hard work by those behind the initiative. The  team of  trained First Responders are dispatched to urgent medical situations across the areas of Crossmaglen, Culloville, Creggan, Glassdrummond, Silverbridge and Cullyhanna and are trained to provide treatment to casualties while awaiting the arrival of appropriate emergency services.

In rural and isolated areas, the existence of such an initiative can mean the difference between life and death while a casualty awaits emergency medical help and, given the often inadequate ambulance response times throughout the district, the scheme is a much welcome development for health services in south Armagh.

First Responders deal with medical emergencies such as victims of heart attacks, strokes, choking, seizures, and are not deployed to attend trauma calls or dangerous situations.

Local volunteers have completed rigorous training to become emergency responders and are readily available to be dispatched at the same time as an ambulance to provide potentially life saving assistance.

The idea of a First Responders Scheme for the area is the brainchild of local man, Damien Martin, supported by and in partnership with Crossmaglen Community Association.

Damien told The Examiner he is delighted to see the scheme become a reality in the area and congratulated the local volunteers on the success of their first emergency call-out.

“After 15 months of meetings and determination to have a First Responders group set up with Northern Ireland Ambulance service going live on 3rd of November, it really is a feeling of success to see the scheme prove worthwhile for our area,” said Damien.

“Thanks for the many messages received showing appreciation, especially from the family affected. We are proud of each and everyone of our First Responders, and it is good to see the person involved making a good recovery tonight!

“It really is a milestone for our area, with another milestone being achieved after Christmas with the launch of our First Public Access Defibrillator. All the meetings and early mornings have been worthwhile.”

“On behalf of the Crossmaglen and District First Responders team, we would like to wish everyone in the community a very happy Christmas and remind all that our volunteers are available all over Christmas, day and night.”