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Fundraising appeal to help air ambulance get ‘further faster’

February 28th, 2021 9:45 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Pilot Tony McAtear with Mícheál Sheridan of Irish Community Rapid Response. (Photo: Darragh Kane)

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A €1.5M fundraising campaign by Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) will help secure a faster helicopter with a longer range capacity.

The new helicopter, which is expected to be delivered later this year, will provide support for a service that was tasked to 490 incidents across 13 counties, during its first full year in operation in 2020.

Dozens of lives have been saved as a result of the work of the ICRR with Cork, Kerry and Waterford the counties most likely to require the service.

Mícheál Sheridan, the chief executive of ICRR, said the statistics showed a clear demand for an air ambulance to be based in the south of the country.

The service based at Rathcoole aerodrome in north Cork works in tandem with the National Ambulance Service to provide both paramedic support and transport to hospital for seriously ill patients.

Figures from the ICRR show that July was the single busiest month, with the air ambulance being tasked a total of 59 times.

Road traffic accidents account for the most incidents, with a total of 94 taskings throughout the year. The other incidents included 81 cardiac arrests, 74 general trauma calls, 73 general medical calls, 46 farming accidents, and 29 falls from heights.
The air ambulance can be airborne in under four minutes of being tasked by the National Ambulance Service. And it is just 30 minutes away from most of areas.

The director of the National Ambulance Service, Martin Dunne, outlined its effectiveness saying their dispatch teams have the option of tasking either the Aer Corps service from Tullamore, or the ICRR service from North Munster.

The air ambulance service, he added, provides much-needed and timely support to the ambulance’s on-road response teams.

‘It ensures that critically ill patients can be brought to emergency trauma centres faster, which improves the likelihood of a successful outcome,’ he added.

The service experienced a huge drop in funds at the beginning of the pandemic, and had to drop back to a five-day per-week service. But since then it has received a huge amount of support and donations.

The ICRR air ambulance currently has two helicopters at its medical aerodrome at Rathcoole, but only one is operational at any one time – the other acts as a backup.

The new ‘Further Faster’ fundraising drive includes a ‘Marching Through March’ challenge that invites members of the public and companies to take 10,000 steps a day.

For details on how to donate see  www.icrr.ie.

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