We all hope that we’ll never need the services of emergency responders, but if we did, we’d like to think that the necessary equipment would be close at hand for them to get on with their life-saving work. You can rest assured that if you ever need emergency care in the form of a defibrillator in the Bray area of Wicklow, the chances of locating one nearby have been greatly increased thanks to Bray Cardiac First Responders.
This is a group of 30 volunteers, 25 of whom are on-call responders. They go on call with the National Ambulance Service, and answer calls for cardiac arrest, chest pain, choking, stroke and collapse. They aim to arrive at the patient before the ambulance and begin treating them while awaiting the paramedics. Many people in Bray owe their lives to the first responder service, as they have attended 888 NAS calls since they were established four years ago.
A vital part of their work is running the Public Access Defibrillation scheme, which involves placing defibrillators in public locations around the town. The idea is that trained members of the public can use them if they come across someone in cardiac arrest. To this end, Bray Cardiac First Responders has trained almost 800 members of the community in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillator use.
According to coordinator Marc Windsor, the group decided to apply for National Lottery Funding for Good Causes in 2016 to place four additional public access defibrillators through the town in areas that weren’t covered. It received €8,000 just before Christmas and already has three defibrillators in place. Marc feels that these have been a vital addition to the community of Bray, which has a population close to 35,000. “By giving early access to defibrillation, it increases the chance of survival of any person who enters cardiac arrest,” he explains.
Approximately 30 cent of every €1 spent on National Lottery games go back to funding for Good Causes in the areas of sport, youth, health, welfare, education, arts and heritage. In total, more than €5 Billion has been raised for Good Causes since the National Lottery was established 30 years ago. In 2016 alone, the National Lottery raised over €210 million for such good causes.