Picture credit: Portarlington Community Responders on Facebook.
A group of people in Portarlington are leading the way in community first response to save lives.
Speaking at the defibrillator database launch at County Hall on Thursday, August 2, Portarlington Community First Responder Coordinator Dave Lanigan said this is a group of 'normal people' who volunteer to respond to emergencies in the locality.
“Portarlington First Responders grew from a question of how many defibrillators do we have in the town, where are they?
“I found about 16 and they were local businesses, places that you would know would have one like doctor’s surgeries and nursing homes and there were some places you wouldn’t think, the leisure centre, Supervalu.
"Your community responder is your fishmonger, your librarian, your bus driver, your normal everyday people who have an interest in the community and want to help.
"What is a community responder going to do? A text message will come in from the NAS, it will give you all the details, address, name, age, condition. We respond to cardiac arrest, cardiac chest pain, choking and patients in CDA and stroke.
"You are having an immediate impact, when you arrive to cardiac chest pain and you administer Aspirin, you are treating a blockage you are not maintaining and waiting for help you are actively treating that until the ambulance arrives. With stroke, time is vital, to have somebody trained to say yes, that person is F.A.S.T positive, that gets them to the proper level of care in the quickest time.
"These are normal people, going about their day and this message will come in," he said.
A group of like-minded people with a common goal came together in Portarlington, they liaise with the National Ambulance Service (NAS) which has a huge database of emergency service information.
Portarlington First Responders are trained to deal with cardiac arrest, chest pains, choking and stroke.
They are typically members of the community who can be contacted quickly during an emergency to provide first aid while waiting on an ambulance to arrive.
Volunteers can receive a text from the NAS with details of the emergency and they actively treat the patient in need and save lives.
They are one of the first communities in Laois to official link up with the National Ambuance Service and they are now reaching out to other communities.
Mr Lanigan said timing is vital in an emergency. Now, the Port First Responders want to reach out to communities with defibrillators who need training free of charge to grow the official number of people registered as First Responders with the NAS.