Aug 21, 2023 | Nationwide News

CRITICAL, Ireland’s volunteer doctor and emergency medical responder charity has set up a partnership with the National Ambulance Service that will see NAS Staff Off-Duty Responders being able to volunteer with the charity whilst responding to potentially life-threatening emergencies in their local communities.

As part of the partnership, the charity will provide vital equipment to off-duty EMTs, paramedics and advanced paramedics who are tasked to incidents such as RTCs, cardiac arrests, farming accidents and other medical or traumatic accidents.

They will respond to these taskings as part of the NAS Staff Off Duty Response Scheme, which has been in operation for almost 20 years. It will cost the charity €1,500 to equip each volunteer, all of which is being funded by CRITICAL.

Each responder will be provided with an emergency backpack containing a defibrillator, in addition to resuscitation and medical diagnostic kits. Working closely with the NAS, the charity is now focused on establishing a network of Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders in every county in Ireland over the next two years.

Micheál Sheridan, CEO of CRITICAL, said: “This partnership will initially see 150 off-duty NAS personnel volunteering with CRITICAL, starting treatment while an ambulance is on its way, to increase a person’s chances of survival or improve their outcomes.

“Initially, we will commit €220,000 in rolling out volunteer Emergency Medical Responders to communities across Ireland. Every cent that we spend on advancing a community-based response to medical emergencies must be fundraised or donated. We rely 100% on fundraising to achieve our mission ‘To Save Lives’.”

Ger O’Dea, NAS Community Engagement Manager, added that building resilience in communities around Ireland is of great importance to the National Ambulance Service. “Through the tremendous dedication of our patient-centred staff who volunteer whilst off duty and now with this very welcomed partnership with CRITICAL, I am confident that more lives will be saved.

“The ambulance service will always dispatch the nearest and most appropriate resource to an emergency call but given the geographical nature of Ireland with factors such as road networks, traffic and journey times we cannot get to every patient as timely as we would like. Enabling our communities to provide a first response to life-threatening emergencies is extremely important.”

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