CIVIL Defence and Red Cross emergency medical technicians in West Cork have been rostered for duty at an intermediate care ambulance base in Bantry since April 1st.
Niall Twomey, Civil Defence officer West Cork, told The Southern Star: ‘This is part of the national emergency management plan, which will see Civil Defence, Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance and Order of Malta step up as part of the second line emergency services to assist the HSE and National Ambulance Service with a patient transfer service during the Covid-19 crisis.’
The volunteers will be working as part of an emergency management plan for Ireland South, and will assist voluntary emergency services in both Cork and Kerry in emergency or crisis situations.
The voluntary emergency services have a range of professionally trained volunteers, vehicles and equipment that can be used in a variety of situations.
According to Mr Twomey: ‘This was demonstrated during Storm Emma when Civil Defence, Red Cross and Irish Coastguard vehicles supported the HSE by transporting dialysis patients from all over West Cork to CUH for treatment.’ The resources are being co-ordinated by four resilience desks in the region, which are operated by Civil Defence in Skibbereen and Tralee, Red Cross in Mallow and St John’s Ambulance in Cork city.
Mr Twomey said these resilience desks ‘act as a single point of contact to coordinate requests from the HSE, gardaí and the local authority, and communicate the relevant details on tasking, location, patient, destination etc to the most suitable voluntary agency.
‘The volunteers manning the communications and control roles have,’ he added, ‘been trained as emergency management co-ordinators, and the personnel involved in the transport of patients are all qualified as emergency medical technicians or first responders and have also completed specific driver training.’
In this role as the community resilience HQ for Cork West and South, the Civil Defence in Skibbereen have been preparing communications links, ambulances, 4x4 vehicles and other equipment to assist the HSE and National Ambulance Service with transport, logistical and communications support as the Covid-19 crisis escalates in the coming days and weeks.