THE Irish Community Air Ambulance has responded to the highest number of road traffic collisions in a single month since the organisation first launched.
The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance was tasked to 15 separate crashes during May.
The increase in crashes has pushed the number of call outs for the helicopter up by 14% when compared to April.
The service is also facing increasing fuel costs. For this reason, and to support the expansion of its ground-based volunteer doctor service, it has launched a major fundraising drive with support from RTÉ presenter John Creedon.
The helicopter responded to 205 incidents in the first five months of this year. There were 48 taskings in May alone, up from 42 during April.
The call outs during May also included six farming or equestrian incidents. Cork accounted for one in four of the calls followed by Kerry, Tipperary, Clare, Waterford, Wexford, Limerick and Carlow. In total, 17 people were airlifted to hospitals in Cork and Limerick during May.
The ground teams were tasked to 221 incidents between January and May this year.
The service is encouraging people to host a BBQ or coffee morning during July to raise vital funds for the organisation.
John Creedon joined the team at the base for the first ‘Brew for the Crew’ event of the summer.
‘The Irish Community Air Ambulance has had a huge impact right across the country since the service first launched almost three years ago. However, it’s rural communities in Munster, places that are some distance from the nearest hospital that have benefited most. The figures for May speak for themselves and show that the demand for the service is increasing.
‘Nobody sets out on their day thinking that they will need the services of the Air Ambulance but we know that life can change in an instant and when trauma strikes, it’s vital to know that help is on the way.
‘That’s why this charity service is so important,’ he said.
Ceo Micheál Sheridan said: ‘The summer is the busiest time of the year for us and we’re already seeing the number of calls increasing. To be tasked to 15 road traffic collisions in one month is concerning and equates to a serious crash every second day. Our helicopter responded to 40 separate collisions in the first five months of the year which is a significant number. The cost of fuel is also continuing to rise which is why community fundraisers like ‘Brew for the Crew’ are so important.’
For more information about hosting an event or to donate visit communityairambulance.ie