CFR schemes perform a hugely important role in communities throughout Ireland, fighting sudden cardiac death and cardiovascular disease.
A great example of how community members and volunteerism are at the heart of CFR schemes can be seen in Kilmacthomas.
The Kilmacthomas CFR group has gone from strength to strength since it was formed following a sudden death in the village more than four years ago.
At a special ceremony in St Declan’s Community College last Thursday evening June 2nd, certificates were presented to those who recently completed a full day CFR course which was recently held in the school with the support of the Civil Defence.
The volunteers now hold a CFR qualification and are trained to deal with a variety of issues including chest pain, sudden collapse, stroke, choking etc.
“Their qualification is within the guidelines of the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council and can be presented anywhere in Ireland. The certificates are valid for two years and volunteers can then take a refresh course afterwards,” explained Brian Jackman of Kilmacthomas CFR committee, who works as a Paramedic with the National Ambulance Service.
Brian is delighted to see so much interest in the CFR scheme and says the entire village has supported the concept.
“All of the volunteers who have received certificates decided to get involved for their own reasons. People have been very, very positive and everyone in the village is supportive of the scheme,” he explained.
In fact, you could say that the Kilmacthomas group is a perfect example of how a CFR scheme should operate.
Many different members of the community have become involved with the scheme, including local businesses which have ensured that staff members are trained to respond.
One such example is Phelan’s Centra which is a huge supporter of the scheme and which is the location for the Kilmacthomas CFR public fundraiser once a year that is always well supported.
A public access defibrillator is located outside Phelan’s Centra which is the third defibrillator that Phelan’s Centra has sponsored.
In addition, staff members at Phelan’s are also trained CFR responders.
As Kilmacthomas CFR scheme covers a large catchment area in rural Mid County Waterford, Brain says that all those involved with the group are performing a hugely important role.
“Both Dungarvan ambulance station and Waterford ambulance station are at least 20 minutes from Kilmacthomas so there’s a big catchment area in between. If somebody collapses, twenty minutes can mean the difference between life and death,” he said.
The exciting Waterford Greenway is expected to attract huge visitors to Mid County Waterford.
In fact, huge numbers are already using the facility on a daily basis.
As Kilmacthomas is the mid-way point on the route, the village expects to receive a significant influx of visitors.
It’s therefore comforting to know that there are so many volunteers who are ready to response to an emergency should such an incident occur.
In September 2015, the Kilmacthomas group officially became part of the CFR structure which means the group can be activated by the ambulance service when required.
There are now hundreds of similar groups throughout the country which are under the CFR umbrella.
The Kilmacthomas CFR group has responded to eight call-outs since becoming part of the CFR structure.
“The National Ambulance Service, through a report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), have been encouraged to work with CFR groups,” explained Brian.
“It’s not about taking people’s jobs or stopping others from doing their work. This is about providing an increased opportunity to save lives. The role of CFR groups is to provide immediate care as fast as we can and link in with the ambulance service. The ambulance service knows that we are part of the chain so when we arrive on the scene we get as much information as we can and we then hand over when the ambulance crew arrive.”
Brian hopes that those who received certificates in Kilmacthomas last week will highlight the importance of CFR schemes within their community.
In nearby Newtown, there is a newly established CFR group which recently received a donation of a defibrillator from CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).
Representatives from the Newtown group also received certificates in Kilmacthomas last week.
Both the Kilmacthomas and Newtown groups work together and also co-operate with other local CFR groups in the area such as Kill, Bonmahon and Portlaw.
Each group covers a 5km radius which ensures that a vast area of Mid County Waterford is covered by a CFR scheme.
Brian thanked Raymond Cowman and the Civil Defence, Noel Lynch ORM of Waterford and Dungarvan Ambulance Service, Pat Phelan of Centra, the Kiersey and Joy families and all of the Kilmacthomas CFR committee comprised of James Power, Dr David Janes, Siobhan McCormack, Nicky Butler, and Gary Corcoran.
For more information on Kilmacthomas CFR email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their Facebook page.