STUDENTS from Kildare Town Educate Together National School have raised a fantastic €756 in aid of Kildare Town Community First Responders (CFR), having run a ‘Crazy Hair & Clothes Day’ in the school on Tuesday 19 February.
Joanna Cheese, PRO for Kildare Town CFR, told the Kildare Nationalist that support like this is hugely important for a community volunteer group. She explained that a public access defibrillator was previously installed outside the Bank of Ireland, a second is ready for installation in the next month, and by raising money they hope to buy another defibrillator and perhaps place it in the Rowanville area of the town.
Essentially, funds raised by the community go back into an important community resource, whether through equipment or training to ensure the volunteers are up-to-date.
“We’re absolutely delighted,” Joanna said. “It’s great, because we really, really rely on voluntary contributions.”
A cheque presentation took place in the school on Friday 8 March and some of the group’s first responders demonstrated how to perform CPR, as well as covering topics such as phoning 999 in the event of an emergency, and the importance of knowing their Eircode. “It’s so important that children, adults, everybody learns this,” said Joanna. “That’s really what is at the heart of what we do.”
The CFR group in Kildare Town first went live back in July 2017 and now has 17 fully-trained volunteers. Part of an emergency response network and linked to the National Ambulance Service (NAS) National Emergency Operations Centre, they attend calls for cardiac arrests, chest pains, stroke and choking and are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Two first responders are on call every day and both carry defibrillators with them. Since the beginning the group has attended 183 calls, and 21 this year alone.
“We all live or work within 5km of the town, which ensures we can be at a scene of any call within minutes, which is often quicker than an ambulance,” Joanna explained. “Obviously this can often save a life… some of these incidents we get called to are time-critical.”
The group is always looking for volunteers, and anyone who wants to play a part can contact the community first responders on Facebook (@KildareCFR) or email [email protected]