GALLERY: Tullow Community First Responders dealt with almost 40 call-outs in first five months

Group planning to bring in a total of three 24/7 public access defibrillators for Tullow by September

The Tullow Community First Responders Group went live in March of this year after almost ten years of sheer community effort and determination. 

Now a total of 14 volunteers are giving up their time to save lives in their local area and the group are calling for more people to join to take part in this rewarding work. 

Speaking to Carlow Live, volunteer and committee member, William Roche, said: "We've had 39 or so call-outs since we went live on March 12. There are 14 members of the Tullow First Responders Group and ten of us that respond to calls.

"The other four can go to calls and take information as needs be.

"We're trained under the National Ambulance Service and Irish Heart Foundation Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) guidelines."

William spoke passionately about the voluntary service they provide and their experiences on call-outs.

He said: "All of our call-outs have been successful. We could be called-out for choking, heart attack, cardiac arrest, people with chest pain, we have all the equipment for CPR and defib.

"Every one of the call-outs were handed over to the ambulance service in good condition. 

"If you don't have enough members, it could easily become a second job, we were surprised at how busy Tullow is. The longest lull was three weeks were we didn't have a call-out. Then you get three in a week or three in a day. 

"The way it works is there is one person on called, the National Ambulance Service send a message and the volunteer puts the call-out and the nearest volunteer turns up. It most cases, two or three volunteers would arrive on site.

"Scenario training is difficult, some people think in traininig that it's not for them but they can still partake."

Residents in Tullow had been trying to set up a group for the last ten years and eventually a committee was founded in 2016 to establish the First Responders Group.

"It's not an easy thing to set up and you need lots of support. We got great support from the Develop Tullow Association, the local fire service and Cllr William Paton who was a great advocate of ours and we got a lot of help from him," William added. 

The First Responders Group isn't the only thing the members are bringing to their community, they are looking to have three public access defibs installed by September at either end of the town and in The Square. 

"There are a lot of defibs in Tullow but after 10pm the public don't have access to them. We've secured funding for three public access defibs. Two are ready to go and a third one is on the way," William said. 

With regard to anyone who wishes to join the First Responders Group, William said: "Contact myself on 087 905 5363 or come down to the Parish Centre on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm or on a Sunday morning at 10am. 

"If some people come along they can sign up to help fundraise, talk to different groups, let them know we're there."

You can also find them on Facebook by clicking here. 

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