CRITICAL, has agreed a three-year partnership with Canada Life Reinsurance. The agreement aims to reduce mortality from cardiac arrests in Ireland and sees the financial services group donating €15,000 worth of basic life support bags each year until 2026.

The bags which contain a defibrillator, a resuscitation kit and a medical diagnostic kit will be issued to CRITICAL’s teams of emergency medical responders and its community first responders (CFR) in communities across the country.

The charity has a growing network of volunteer responders operating in 20 counties in cities, towns and villages. The volunteers include more than 70 paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) from the National Ambulance Service along with other qualified personnel who attend serious incidents and emergencies in their local areas when they are off duty.

In recent months CRITICAL launched its first CFR group which is made up of seven volunteers who respond to life-threatening emergencies in West Limerick. The group received five basic life support bags through the Canada Life Reinsurance partnership and has responded to more than 50 calls since September 2023.

The emergency response bags contain a defibrillator, a resuscitation kit and a medical diagnostic kit.

Pictured are Fergus Cooney, Head of Sustainability with Canada Life Reinsurance and Michelle Costello, CRITICAL West Limerick CFR volunteer, and with Edward Walsh and Jeppe Rasmussen of CRITICAL.

Edward Walsh, Operations and Standards Manager with CRITICAL said, “The partnership with Canada Life Reinsurance will help us in our mission to empower communities to save lives. We know that every second counts when someone suffers a cardiac arrest or a choking incident. We have provided our volunteers with the necessary equipment to enable them to respond quickly and start treatment before the emergency services arrive. Our teams are also tasked to road traffic collisions, falls from height, farming and other workplace incidents. The equipment is funded entirely by donations from members of the public and support from organisations like Canada Life.

Fergus Cooney, Head of Sustainability at Canada Life Reinsurance said, “We firmly believe that collective efforts to support the fantastic work carried out by off-duty volunteer doctors, paramedics and first responders can help save lives. Through this investment over 30 responders will be equipped with life saving equipment to allow them to respond to emergency calls in their communities throughout Ireland, in advance of their colleagues in the National Ambulance Service. This year we are also encouraging and facilitating staff in all our Canada Life Reinsurance offices to increase their awareness of CPR. The investment which just commenced has already resulted in one successful resuscitation showing what can be achieved by the amazing work and selfless commitment of professional volunteers in their own communities”

The investment is part of Canada Life Reinsurance’s commitment to support the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 3, Good Health and Wellbeing, which supports reducing death rates from non-communicable illnesses like cardiac diseases.

Jeppe Rasmussen, Partnerships Manager with CRITICAL added, “We are thrilled that Canada Life Reinsurance has partnered with us to provide life-saving equipment to communities across the country. We are excited to strengthen our relationship with Canada Life Reinsurance over the next three years. They have shown great interest in the services provided by our volunteer responders in local communities, and we are looking forward to bringing their staff closer to our volunteers by demonstrating the impact of the Basic Life Support bags on the ground. As a charity that relies on donations, partnerships like these are crucial for us to continue providing our life-saving service.”

critical charity
The CRITICAL network of volunteers also includes consultants, specialists and GPs with significant experience in emergency medicine. The medics are based in Donegal, Mayo, Dublin, Wicklow and Waterford. It costs an average of €25,000 to establish an Advanced level Volunteer Doctor in the community; and €120,000 to put a new Critical Care response vehicle on the road.