Founder steps down

The Argus - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

Chair­per­son, Joan McA­dam of the parish’s First Re­spon­der move­ment has stepped down from the role. She was the founder of the De­fib­ril­la­tor Group which then took on the role of first re­spon­ders, and was the first such com­mu­nity group es­tab­lished in this area.

For a time the lo­cal group also pro­vided cover for Dun­dalk un­til the move­ment spread its wings and groups were set up over most of the county. Mem­bers are trained to re­spond to heart at­tack, stroke, chok­ing and car­diac ar­rest in­ci­dents to pro­vide com­fort and aid un­til the ar­rival of the Am­bu­lance Ser­vice and pro­fes­sional paramedics.

Ini­tially a group led by Joan, in­clud­ing also re­tired hon­orary sec­re­tary, Va­lerie Hunt Duffy set about procur­ing life sav­ing de­fib­ril­la­tors to help in such emer­gen­cies, and pro­vid­ing train­ing as well as re­cruit­ing those al­ready trained and qual­i­fied in the use of de­fib­ril­la­tors.

The Group man­aged to raise the nec­es­sary funds to pur­chase a hand­ful of ma­chines that were in­stalled at strate­gic lo­ca­tions across the parish.

It is eight years in Jan­uary since the Group held its first meet­ing, and three years later made the com­mit­ment to pro­vide a First Re­spon­der Ser­vice.

The Group have con­tin­ued on a largely full-time ba­sis, pro­vid­ing 24 hour, seven day a week cover, through the ded­i­ca­tion of lo­cal vol­un­teers.

A Buddy Sys­tem op­er­ates whereby re­spon­ders are ac­com­pa­nied by an­other ex­pe­ri­enced per­son to go to the scene of a call out. Vol­un­teers make them­selves avail­able for a pe­riod which suits their per­sonal cir­cum­stances to be on standby in the event of an emer­gency and their ser­vices are needed to act as aux­il­iaries to the pro­fes­sional ser­vices.

They are pro­vided with a spe­cial mo­bile phone and equipped with a mo­bile de­fib­ril­la­tor to take to the scene, which they might need to ad­min­is­ter or pro­vided CPR.

The scheme has been ac­cred­ited with sav­ing life, and mak­ing a very val­ued con­tri­bu­tion to help those un­for­tu­nate enough to suf­fer a car­diac prob­lem.

The lo­cal group cover an area tak­ing in Hag­gard­stown and Black­rock and stretch­ing from Xerox to Dromiskin and the town­lands in be­tween.

Since the for­ma­tion of the group Joan has acted as chair­per­son or joint chair­per­son, and is happy to hand over the reins with an in­flux of keen young vol­un­teers into the group to carry on the ser­vice. ‘It was hard work but it was re­ward­ing’ she com­mented.

Her suc­ces­sor is Valarie Egan and Emily Magee has taken over as hon­orary sec­re­tary from Va­lerie-Hunt Duffy. The new of­fi­cers have been in­volved in the ser­vice as re­spon­ders. Joan is to con­tinue her in­volve­ment in the group.

The call out rate ap­pears to fol­low a peak and trough pat­tern, with ear­lier this year vol­un­teers be­ing busy from Jan­uary to May.

Cllr. Maria Doyle and Brian McEl­roy, Black­rock Tidy Towns, with Kate Smyth, Award win­ner for Colour­ful Gar­den at the Beau­ti­ful Black­rock awards night held in The Cler­mont Arms.

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