CRITICAL, one of the country’s leading emergency medical response charities, has expanded its services to include a dedicated Community First Responder (CFR) group in West Limerick. Comprising seven local volunteers from Newcastle West and surrounding areas, this group is on standby to respond to life-threatening emergencies, such as cardiac arrests, chest pain, strokes, and choking incidents.

Since its launch on September 19th, 2023, the CRITICAL West Limerick CFR group has attended over 20 medical emergencies in the last 6 weeks, showcasing the immediate impact of community-based first responders in critical situations. The volunteers, who either live or work in the area, bring essential first aid services to the scene, bridging the crucial gap between the occurrence of an emergency and the arrival of professional medical services.

CRITICAL has invested €5,000 to equip the West Limerick CFR group with necessary supplies, including basic life-support bags and defibrillators. The funding for this essential equipment comes entirely from donations to the charity, emphasizing the community-driven nature of this initiative.

Working in tandem with the National Ambulance Service (NAS), CRITICAL ensures that Community First Responders are dispatched simultaneously with other emergency services for specific incidents. This collaborative effort ensures a prompt response to emergencies, with on-call volunteers able to reach the scene within minutes.

Michéal Sheridan, CEO of CRITICAL, emphasized the critical role that Community First Responders play in emergency situations, stating, “Every second counts when a person suffers a cardiac arrest or choking incident. Community First Responders play a vital role; they can start treatment while an ambulance is on the way, increasing the person’s chances of recovery.”

The CRITICAL West Limerick CFR group covers areas including Newcastle West, Foynes, Ballingarry, and Rathkeale, underscoring the charity’s commitment to providing widespread coverage. Michéal Sheridan called on the people of Limerick to support CRITICAL, highlighting that donations directly contribute to saving lives in the community.

The collaboration between CRITICAL and the National Ambulance Service reflects a shared commitment to improving emergency response capabilities nationwide. As part of their ongoing projects, CRITICAL already engages a network of volunteers, including consultants, specialists, GPs, advanced paramedics, paramedics, and EMTs, who respond to serious illnesses and emergencies in their local areas.

The launch of the CRITICAL West Limerick CFR group marks a significant step toward empowering communities to take immediate action in emergency situations. By providing training and essential equipment, CRITICAL aims to create a network of Community First Responder groups across Limerick and Ireland, ultimately saving more lives and fostering a sense of community resilience in the face of emergencies.