Ambulance Service

Dr Ruairi Hanley – ‘HSE Ambulance cuts ‘putting lives at risk’ 

Concerns are being expressed following fears that the HSE is ‘putting lives at risk’ by cuts to the HSE Ambulance Service in County Meath. The concerns were raised following new rosters introduced by the HSE will see a reduction in the number of ambulances operating on Fridays is reduced from three to two.

GP and spokesperson for Save Navan Hospital Dr Ruairi Hanley described the move as very, very disturbing while Deputy Ray Butler said he was horrified by the news. Dr Hanley said that assuming the reports are true, the reduction of the ambulance service by one third puts people’s lives at risk. “Any reduction in the ambulance service is a risk, given that it is possible to have at least two emergencies in a county the size of Meath at any one time,” he said.
Deputy Ray Butler said he was horrified that this was happening and would be contacting Minister James Reilly for an explanation. He said, “I fear for the safety of patients. The people at the coalface know what is happening and are concerned. We need a strong ambulance service and I am horrified to think that something like this is happening as a cost saving measure,

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the HSE said the Labour Court had issued a recommendation directing the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and Trade Unions representing paramedical staff to address a number of inefficiencies within its rostering arrangements. “While there have been some concerns raised by staff and public representatives in relation to reduced levels of cover at certain ambulance stations, the NAS wishes to reassure the entire population of North Leinster that this is not the case.

“Ambulances from adjacent stations will provide cover in a dynamic manner.  In addition, a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) will also operate in the Trim area to further augment services from Monday 5th August,” she said. She said the National Ambulance Services’ objective is to ensure the highest quality of care is delivered in an appropriate manner all times. The National Ambulance Service (NAS), she said  was not a static service and as such deploys its resources in a dynamic manner”.


Garda Open Day

Community at the heart of Policing in Waterford

The wailing of sirens, the bashing of batons off protective shields and the occasional revving of Garda motorbikes were the work of the hundreds of excited young children who visited Waterford Garda Station for its 2nd annual Community Policing Open Day at Ballybricken, Waterford on bank holiday Monday 6th May.

Joining the Waterford Community Policing unit on the day were various other Garda services such as the Regional Armed Support Unit, the Mountain unit, Public Order unit, Traffic Corps, Dog unit and the Garda Command and Control Unit. Members were also on hand for face painting duties and some young people also got to wear the garda uniforms on the day.

Garda Sergeant Gavin Hegarty spoke to and explained the background to the Community Open day. “Last year Waterford, along with a number of other stations opened up to the public, and it was such a success here last year that we felt it would be a shame not to do it again this year. We have tried to being as broad a range of Garda and support services as possible so the public can see what we do behind the scenes and on the street”

Sgt. Hegarty has been involved in Community Policing since his days in the Bridewell, and brought his experience and commitment with him to Waterford. He has always found it to be very beneficial to the community; to both the people they serve in the community and An Garda Síochána.

As dozens of children emerged from the Garda road safety stand, they donned their high viz vest and waited in line to have their face painted by Garda Joanne O’ Mahony, while opposite that, Garda Mary Murphy was engaging with teenagers and assisting them in becoming ‘Garda for a Day’ by wearing the Garda uniforms.

The Garda Mountain and Dog Units and the Waterford City River Rescue boat and crew were a big attraction for the visitors. Garda John O’ Sullivan explained the protective gear and equipment used by the Public Order Unit while Garda Claire O’ Sullivan demonstrated by force, the bashing and impact which some Gardai in the unit might come under during an incident.

The Command and Control Unit which attended on the day is no stranger to Waterford as it has also been utilised during the Tall Ship festivals and other major events in Waterford City. Sergeant Hegarty says the Community Policing Unit in any area is vital to the community. “We work for and on behalf of the people, it’s the people who demand and drive our services, it’s that commitment and engagement we have with the community through areas such as the Junior Liaison Programme, the Neighbourhood watch etc, and all of this forms the link between us and the community, and that link is absolutely vital and it would be a sad day if it is ever lost, because it is through that that we gain intelligence and information, and we get to know the people we serve, and that’s what Community Policing is all about”.

Fire Brigade

Three Fire Deaths Spark National Safety Campaign
09/08/13 Updated 18:54

A new national fire safety campaign has been launched in Scotland following the
deaths of three elderly women in separate house fires.

An elderly woman died in a fire at her home in Cowcaddens, Glasgow, on Saturday last and another fire took the life of a woman on the city’s southside on Monday. A third woman died in a house blaze in Inverness on Tuesday.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Mr. Lewis Ramsey, Director of Fire Prevention with the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service said “We all need to do as much as we can to prevent tragedies like this occurring. We all know older people who are at risk. It could be a grandmother, aunt, friend or neighbor. Today I am asking Scotland to think about these people. If you, or someone you know, is at risk from fire, call us now.”

As part of the campaign, a new TV advert to be broadcast includes a firefighter’s account of a fatal fire involving an elderly woman who lived alone. In the advert, watch commander Scott Davidson says: “One call for a home fire safety visit could have saved this elderly lady’s life.”

Mr Ramsay said: “Our firefighters will visit anyone at risk from fire at a time that suits, day or night. We’ll help make sure their home is as safe as possible, get assistance from partners like health or housing if there is a need, and fit smoke alarms free of charge if required. But we need you to contact us. Tell us about someone at risk before it’s too late.”

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Civil Defence Exercise

Kildare and Waterford City regional

A long standing annual Civil Defence exercise took place for its 15th year on March 9th in Waterford between Kildare and Waterford City Civil Defence. The scenarios included First Aid, Communications, Auxiliary Fire Service, Search and Rescue & Recovery, and under the direction of Waterford City’s Civil Defence Officer Paul Nolan and Kildare Civil Defence Officer Patricia McNeela.

Volunteers training in First Aid learned the different approaches and techniques in carrying out CPR on an adult and a baby. Members were also trained on how to use a Defibrillator and how to deal with concerned family members or members of the public in terms of their intervention in such situations.

The Search and Rescue was carried out in an old school on the outskirts of Waterford City, this school is used by the Civil Defence on a regular basis for training exercises. Search and Rescue Teams were tasked with a scenario where 8 to 10 people have been reported injured and unaccounted for inside the building. With limited information available to the teams, each team had 45 minutes to locate casualties, treat them and rescue and recover them from the building. Injuries sustained by some of the casualties were leg, arm and head injures while elderly casualties sustained additional injuries. Instructors were happy that Communications with the Communication techniques in this scenario among team members.

A thorny, muddy and hilly wooded area was the scene for an outdoor Search & Communications exercise. Information was placed in various parts of the wood and teams used Navigation techniques to locate this information and relay the information back to exercise control. Instructors were satisfied that leaders ensured teams were able to navigate through the wooded area and communication formed an integral part of the exercise.

One of the most difficult scenarios was undertaken by the Auxiliary Fire Service who had to enter a smoke filled building to search the building, locate casualties and recover them from the building.

Civil Defence Officer Patricia McNeela said this particular exercise proved to be the more difficult exercise of all the scenarios. “As this was an occupied building, the main obstacles in this exercise were the stairs and limited vision due to heavy smoke. Other difficulty encountered was the layout of the rooms and individual rooms inside. Safety is the most important thing for all AFS members and there is a special procedure which they must stick to during this search”.

AFS teams were using Breathing Apparatus for this exercise; however McNeela states that while the Civil Defence does not use BA within the Organisation, this is only used on the day as part of training and for this exercise.

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Order of Malta Ambulance Push

Charity Ambulance push raises €2k

Tullamore Order of Malta volunteers assisted staff members of Enterprise Rent-a-Car based in Athlone and Galway in raising €2,000 for charity through a 65km ambulance charity push.

The group started pushing an Order of Malta ambulance from Ballinasloe at 9am and arrived in Oranmore just before 7pm. Enterprise staff from Galway and Athlone were joined by members of the Tullamore unit of the Order of Malta on the day, and worked together to get the ambulance to Oranmore. Twenty two volunteers took part in the charity push, taking turns either pushing or collecting money.

The teams stopped in towns along the way, including Ballinasloe, Augrim, Loughrea, Craughwell and Oranmore. The following day they continued collecting money in Galway city centre. A total of €2,000 was raised and is being split between the Order of Malta and MS Ireland. The money was raised through donations in the branch, sponsorship from staff and collections along the route and the following day.

This was part of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Diversity and Philanthropy week. Donncha Kelly, Branch Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Galway, said: “Our aim was to come up with a different kind of fundraising activity that would attract attention and therefore allow us to raise as much money as possible for the two worthy causes. One of our staff members is a volunteer with the Order of Malta and during a brainstorming exercise we came up with the idea. The Order of Malta loaned us the ambulance and members of their staff also took part. We are all very pleased to have raised awareness and a substantial amount of money through our charity event.”

Garda Speed Zones

Enforcement Zones Increased

Since 2010, An Garda Síochána has contracted a service provider ‘GoSafe’ to operate safety cameras on its behalf.  Safety cameras only operate on sections of road which have a history of collisions occurring where speed was a contributory factor. The areas where the cameras are operating are available to the public on the Garda website.

‘GoSafe’ monitoring commenced operation on a phased basis in November 2010 and reached full operational capacity in March 2011. GoSafe are contracted to provide a minimum of 6000 hours speed enforcement per month as directed by An Garda Síochána. GoSafe are also set key performance indicators to ensure enforcement is targeted at key days and times – with a particular emphasis on night time and weekends. From 1st November 2010 to 31st December 2012, more than 408,000 fixed charge notices were issued as a result of detections from both GoSafe and Garda operated Robot vans for non-intercept speeding offences. ~

GoSafe have completed over 162,000 hours of enforcement since its launch and 26,500 hours of surveys. Following the introduction of the safety cameras most zones saw a dramatic and sustained improvement in compliance with speed limits. The number of vehicles detected continues to fall as drivers modify their behaviour and on average less than 1 person per hour of enforcement is detected by GoSafe. 

The results of speed surveys show in the two years from January 2011 to January 2013, compliance with the posted speed limit has increased:-

  • ·        in 50 km/h zones from 62% to 93% compliance,
  • ·        in 60 km/h zones from 78% to 91% compliance,
  • ·        in 80 km/h zones from 89% to 97% compliance,
  • ·        in 100 km/h zones from 96% to 99% compliance. 

In the same period road deaths fell to record lows with 186 deaths in 2011 and 162 deaths in 2012. Similarly between 2004 and 2008 the proportion of fatal collisions occurring in the GoSafe zones was approximately 30%. In 2012 this had reduced to 17%, or 26 road deaths. In human terms this 13% reduction occurring in GoSafe zones represents 20 fewer fatal road traffic collisions in 2012 alone.

For further information, visit the Garda website: