A group of volunteers are making a huge difference to the response times for medical emergencies in and around the Keady area.
Keady Community First Responders are made up of people who live within their local community assisting the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS).
Their aim is to reach a potentially life-threatening emergency in the vital first few minutes before the arrival of an ambulance crew. The group are able to provide basic emergency life support and are trained in the use of a defibrillator, should it be required.
Speaking to Armagh I, volunteer Adrian Cassidy recalls the first days of the service: “Keady First Responders were formed in 2020. We started with 27 trainees and from those we managed to fully train 21 responders – they have become a vital asset in the chain of survival.
“We went live on February 24, 2021 and subsequently suspended for two months due to the severity of pandemic and rising COVID cases but by April we were responding in full PPE.”
The team are trained to be the first to arrive at an emergency situation, providing immediate medical attention, and stabilising the injured while waiting for further medical assistance.
“On a daily basis our members go about their normal lives then out of the blue we get a message on our phones. That message gives us the details of an emergency happening locally.”
The group of responders, who come from a range of professions and work together in a coordinated effort to ensure that emergency situations are handled effectively and efficiently, have already attended 210 calls.
“Everyone is acutely aware of how much pressure is on the Ambulance Service, we have an appreciation of how much they have to go through on a daily basis. What we aim to do is provide support to both the patient and the Ambulance crew in being the link between the point of call and the Ambulance Service arriving.”
“This is our community and we want to make sure we can give the best response and chance of survival.”
This is the fourth of a four-part series looking into local first responders – kindly sponsored by Blackwater Private Clinic, Armagh
Read more: Keady First Responders awarded £1,000 towards life-saving equipment