The importance of having a defibrillator and knowledge of CPR was made clear last weekend amid worrying scenes in Copenhagan which saw Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapse suddenly during a Euro 2020 group match against Finland.
Thanks to the speedy reaction of medics on the pitch the Danish midfielder was stabilised and brought to hospital where he is now recovering.
Barry Hennessy from the Dundalk First Responders has called on members of the public to donate to Dundalk Lions’ Club which is fundraising for life-saving defibrillators.
Dundalk First Responders are there to respond whenever an ambulance is called to a cardiac, choking or stroke incident within Dundalk.
First responder Barry Hennessy from Haggardstown told The Dundalk Leader that the Lions’ Club is planning to purchase defibrillators for the Lisdoo area, the Point Road, Muirhevnamor and Dublin Street.
“Defibrillators can cost between €900-€1,300 each. There are around 300 in the county, mostly in football clubs,” said Barry.
“Before Covid a first responder would be alerted to an incident by ambulance control and go along to an area. The responder might have to use a defibrillator and do CPR.
“If the person was choking, they might have to clear the airways. Most of the time the ambulance is there, so the first responder’s role is to mainly calm the people there.”
There are First Responder’s groups operating in Omeath, Carlingford, Riverstown, Ravensdale, Dundalk, Blackrock, Castlebellingham, Dromiskin and Dunleer.
“We are trying to set up groups in Ardee and Clogherhead. We’ve had meetings so hopefully we’ll get going again. To be a First Responder you have to be over 18,” said Barry.
“We go out in pairs or three people to a scene and we wear PPE equipment. We also do instruction courses; we sign a confidentiality agreement; and we are garda vetted also.
“We don’t want to make a situation worse. If you are in the area and on duty you could get a call and have to respond to it. It’s a nice thing to do.”
Barry continued: “We’ve had a couple of saves in Blackrock and in Dunleer and a few in Dundalk. Dundalk is the busiest.
“It’s very important to maintain defibrillators and check them every two weeks to make sure the batteries and pads haven’t expired.
“We want to see more defibrillators out there and we are always looking for more volunteers to train.”