Community First Responders Campaign Launched!

Today, Wednesday, 13th July 2022, the HSE National Ambulance Service launched a new nationwide campaign for additional volunteer Community First Responders to support the work of the Emergency Services in local communities.

The campaign, which features a new promotional video and website, www.becomeacfr.ie was launched by Cathal O’Donnell, Medical Director of the National Ambulance Service, at an event in Dunboyne Castle, Co Meath.

Community First Responders are an integral part of dealing with an emergency in the community in that they provide vital lifesaving CPR and defibrillator treatment to patients while an ambulance is en route.

Speaking at the launch today Mr O’Donnell said: “We currently have 250 Community First Responder schemes operating in Ireland, but our goal is to ensure that every patient who needs treatment across Ireland gets access to a community response, so this promotional campaign forms part of this.

“I would encourage anyone interested in becoming a Community First Responder to visit www.becomeacfr.ie and get in touch. There is currently a need for additional Community First Responders right around the country and you will be given the essential training required. We would also like to see additional Community First Responder Schemes established where they are needed.”

The campaign is being supported by Emma Doyle, a mother of two in her thirties from Meath, who suffered a cardiac arrest two years ago in her home while feeding her new born child.

Speaking at the launch Emma Doyle said: “I was a fit and healthy person before I suffered my cardiac arrest which was totally unexpected. I am so grateful for the telephone instructions from the ambulance service which enabled my husband Damien to start CPR on me and for the speedy arrival of the ambulance and its crew.

“One moment I was holding George chatting to my mother-in-law Annmarie and the next I was gone. My mother-in-law Annmarie initially thought I had fallen and rushed to check if we were ok. It was then she realised that I had really gone. Without any warning whatsoever, I had a cardiac arrest – my heart just stopped….I had no underlying medical conditions and did not feel unwell in any way prior to the event. It is often reported in the media when sports stars, typically male, suffer a cardiac arrest but in fact it can and does happen to anyone at any time.

“I want to share my story and what I have learnt since that day in April 2020 about the importance of learning CPR and establishing Community First Responder groups in every community in Ireland.” 

Brigid Sinnott, Resus Manager, the Irish Heart Foundation said:

“At the Irish Heart Foundation one of our key goals is to help save lives from cardiac arrest through CPR training. The more people who know CPR the more lives we can save. By starting CPR you can double or triple a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. We are delighted to be here today to support this new drive for more Community First Responders and to hear Emma’s remarkable story about the amazing care she received after her cardiac arrest.”