The important life-saving work being done by local voluntary Wicklow group The Bray Cardiac First Responders was highlighted on the National Lottery TV game show, Winning Streak, on RTE One last Saturday (19th May).
While you would always hope never to need the services of emergency responders it is reassuring there is a defibrillator in the Bray area and the chances of locating one nearby have been greatly increased thanks to the dedicated 30-strong volunteer group.
Twenty-five of the volunteers are on-call responders with the National Ambulance Service answering calls for cardiac arrest, chest pain, choking, stroke and collapse. They aim to arrive to the patient before the ambulance and begin treating them while awaiting the paramedics. Many people in Bray owe their lives to the first responder service, as they have attended dozens of NAS calls since they were established five years ago.
A vital part of their work is running the Public Access Defibrillation scheme, which involves placing defibrillators in public locations around the town. The idea is that trained members of the public can use them if they come across someone in cardiac arrest. To this end, Bray Cardiac First Responders has trained 800 members of the community in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillator use.
According to coordinator, Marc Windsor, the group decided to apply for National Lottery Good Causes funding in 2016 to place four additional public access defibrillators through the town in areas that weren’t covered. It received €8,000 and already has three defibrillators in place. Marc feels that these have been a vital addition to the community of Bray, which has a population close to 35,000. “By giving early access to defibrillation, it increases the chance of survival of any person who enters cardiac arrest,” he explains.
Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on National Lottery games go back to Good Causes. These funds are transferred to the national Exchequer and are used to finance expenditure by various Government Departments on projects in the area of Health, Youth, Sports, Recreation, Amenities, Welfare, Arts, Culture, Heritage and the Irish Language. Last year alone over €226 million was raised by the National Lottery and its players for Good Causes all over Ireland, equating to about €616,000 per day.