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Our firefighters want to save lives as first responders for the Ambulance Service – Mac Lochlainn

21 June, 2017 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has repeated his support for the call from firefighters in Donegal and across the State for them to act as first responders for the National Ambulance Service in circumstances such as cardiac arrests, respiratory emergencies, asthma attacks and other emergencies that require lifesaving skills in a timely fashion.

Senator Mac Lochlainn said:

“I have spoken to firefighters and fire and rescue personnel here in Donegal on many occasions about their call to be utilised as first responders for the National Ambulance Service (NAS). These dedicated personnel are trained by the NAS as first responders with the requisite lifesaving skills. However, they are having to stand by watching ambulances struggling to get to life and death emergencies on time when they could get to the scene first and possibly save those lives.

“I know that they feel that lives may have already have been lost that could have been saved here in Donegal and elsewhere.

“I have repeatedly raised this issue with various Ministers for Health and Environment and Local Government, responsible for the NAS and the fire service across the State. Indeed, I have met with senior management in the National Ambulance Service and the Fire Service to discuss how this can happen. Those meetings confirmed there was no resistance from them.

“However, the most recent response from the Ministers given to my colleague, Deputy Louise O’Reilly is very frustrating. They have confirmed that within the HSE an Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Steering Group has been established to examine this and in the Department of Environment and Local Government, the Management Board of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management is examining the matter.

“A few years back, I felt that we were closer to a solution than this. Back then, all that was required was a memorandum of understanding on who would cover the costs.

“I will continue to support the calls of firefighters and fire and rescue personnel across the State until this is sorted out.” 

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