Glenties Cardiac First Responders (CFR) is a newly formed group made up of local volunteers that are trained to assist in the event of emergencies such as Cardiac Arrest.
Here secretary of GCFR, Susan O’Donnell, explains the aims of the group and why they are looking for new volunteers.
Our aim is to be able to respond to emergency calls in Glenties and its surrounds (to a radius of 8km) as deemed appropriate by the National Ambulance Service (NAS).
A team will be dispatched carrying a mobile defibrillator with the possibility that they could be on scene attending to a patient within minutes whilst waiting for an ambulance which we know in rural Donegal can unfortunately, take anything from 20 minutes to an hour.
Like many other towns in the country, Glenties is working hard to fully establish this service and join those already in existence.
On 1st August 2019, Ardara Cardiac First responders celebrated the 1st Anniversary of their existence. They have been an enormous help to us in every way from the provision of training, lending of equipment, assistance with administration and imparting their acquired experience from their first year in operation.
We would like to extend a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to Teague McFadden and the Ardara Group for their kindness and generosity. Your support has been and continues to be invaluable.
Presently, our Glenties group has 24 trained members with a number waiting in the wings for the next training session. This training includes CPR (compressions and ventilation), recognising the signs of stroke, how to deal with a choking incident and intervening in an array of other life-threatening conditions. In addition to the training delivered previously by the Ardara CFR group, we are fortunate to have AJ Gallagher on board to train both new members and to deliver refreshers every month.
Ultimately, we would endeavour to have defibrillators installed outside every Primary School in the area as well as other units strategically placed within the 8km specified zone.
Presently the area has three defibrillators. Provision of additional defibrillators will mean that when someone is in need of this intervention, they will only be a few minutes away from their nearest unit, enhancing the ‘Chain of Survival’ and increasing the victim’s survival rate by 7% to 10%.
The cut-off points within the 8km recommended radius are: Donegal Road (R262) intersection with Thower Crossroads, Ardara Road (N56) turn off to Glenconwal where we overlap with the Ardara Cardiac First Responders, Narin Road (R261) at Ballyeriston, Dungloe Road (N56) at Gweebarra Bridge, Fintown Road (R250) at Pairc Achla and Glen Road (R253) at Lough Ea.
Anyone who is living in these areas and feels they would like to join with the group and potentially help save the lives of family members, neighbours and friends, please contact Anne (089 9746050), Brian (087 9354012), Colleen (086 3585564) or Susan (086 1798692). You can also send us a message on Facebook and perhaps give us a wee ‘like’ so we can spread the word. Simply type in ‘Glenties Cardiac First Responders’ and you should find us.
During the initial set up process, fundraising has been a huge aspect of our focus. In order to get up and running and ‘go live’ with the NAS, we must first have the required equipment.
The potential cost of set-up is in the region of €4,000 and moving forward, if we are to purchase additional defibrillators the predicted cost would be in the region of €10,000. Unfortunately, a number of applications submitted to state agencies were unsuccessful and this has been a set back to our efforts.
Thankfully, our members are a determined bunch and we have put in huge efforts to raise necessary monies to realise our aim. To date, we have received donations from various individuals and groups in the town of Glenties and we are so grateful for their generous contributions. Tír Conaill GAP Cycling Club donated €750 from their Easter Charity Ride, €500 was received from a Mental Health Awareness Day co-ordinated by Edeninfagh NS and involving the pupils from St Riaghan’s NS Drimnacrosh, Fintown NS, Meenagowan NS Lettermacaward and Doochary NS, €1,100 was raised by Gemma O’Donnell, Glen Road for her 21st Birthday and just recently our first Church Gate Collection in Glenties and Edeninfagh yielded a massive €1,025.
A number of businesses in the town have been extremely supportive and have offered to purchase a defibrillator for our use. We will be in touch with them soon to further discuss their generous offers. For these and all contributions thus far, we are truly humbled and grateful.
It is our dream to be up and running in early September. Working in teams, we will initially provide cover from 7p.m. to 7a.m. responding to ambulance call-outs.
This means that if an ambulance is called from anywhere within the 8km radius, the on-duty team will be notified and dispatched to the address of the patient. Trained personnel will endeavour to be on scene within minutes of the call being received to help and offer reassurance to the patient and family members. After entering the house, a brief assessment of the overall situation will be carried out by the CFR team and following proper procedure they will carry out appropriate intervention on the patient, continuing until the ambulance and its crew arrives.
Upon arrival of the Ambulance Crew, the CFR team will give a quick briefing and hand over the patient. As an example of the success of Community First Responder Groups, Ardara CFR were called out 49 times in their first year. There is no doubt that this service saves lives!
Moving forward, in the coming months we intend carrying out further fundraising. If we are to have Glenties and its surrounds fully equipped with defibrillators, recruit and train new members and pay for the upkeep of our initial equipment, then it is vital that we have funds at our disposal.
To this end we will be out and about raising funds and raising awareness. If anyone has an idea that they would like to share with us regarding fundraising, please feel free to contact a group member. All ideas welcome!
We would also love to see new faces joining us on the team. Training takes place locally and is delivered in a friendly and coherent manner. You will be joining like-minded enthusiastic locals who just want the best for their community.
Why not arm yourself with the knowledge and skills to save a life should the need arise? Please get involved! No team member will ever be sent to a call-out alone and you will always receive support, before, during and after an event.
What are you waiting for – please contact one of the contacts previously mentioned and don’t forget our Facebook page!