Civil Defence Regional Exercise

Civil Defence regional exercise between Kildare and Waterford City

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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100 Garda Reserves Graduate

Garda Reserves Graduate from Garda College

One hundred Garda Reserves graduated at a ceremony on Monday 15th July ’13 at the Garda College,Templemore, Co. Tipperary. The graduation was attended by Mr. Alan Shatter T.D. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Among those 28 females and 72 males graduating were citizens from Romania, Croatia, India, Albania, Poland and Lithuania.

Speaking at the ceremony, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said “This auspicious occasion is a culmination of the hard work, dedication and sacrifices you have made as you undertook your intensive, challenging and important training here at the Garda College. Your enthusiasm and willingness to engage with all aspects of the course has been noted and is greatly appreciated by the College staff. The skills you have learned will be an asset to the wider Garda organisation and will be welcomed by the communities you have undertaken to serve in the proudest traditions of An Garda Síochána”.

Mr Callinan continued “Community and Community Policing are central to the work carried out by An Garda Síochána  – the primary purpose of the force is to protect and serve. The authority for these lofty aims is, as Commissioner Staines put it so many years ago, a moral one. The community we serve holds us in high esteem. It is incumbent on each of us to strive to maintain our professionalism, so that this esteem is warranted and continuing. In this regard we must abide and live by the core values of An Garda Síochána – Honesty, Accountability, Respect and Professionalism – (HARP)”.

Accidental death of serving soldier at McGee Barracks, Dublin

The death has occurred of a soldier due to a tragic accident and a fall from a height in McKee Barracks, Dublin in the early hours of this morning. The soldier has been named as Private Patrick (Paddy) Conlon (32) based in the 28th Infantry Battalion, Co Donegal with an address at Cooloney, Co Sligo

Private Patrick Conlon was pronounced dead in the Mater Hospital at 2.10 am. The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lt Gen Seán McCann extends his sympathies with the Conlon family and their friends in their time of need.

Personnel support and chaplaincy services have been in contact with the next of kin and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. A Military Police and Garda Siochána investigation into the incident has been launched.

MedeVac 112’s future uncertain

The HSE have said that no decision has yet been made on the future its air ambulance service. The Emergency Aero-medical Service (EAS) was a pilot project and is nearing the end of its 12-month trial period since starting on June 4th last year.

The Air Ambulance which is operated by the Air Corps on behalf of the National Ambulance Service is an Augusta Westland AW139 helicopter (Medevac 112) and is based at Custume Barracks in Athlone. The trial service was established following agreement between the Ministers for Health and Defence through a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

The pilot was established to determine the level and type of dedicated EAS service, if any, might be needed to support the ambulance service. It allows ambulance paramedics who respond to emergency calls to request air ambulance support if they think it’s required. All such requests are handled at the National Aero-medical Co-ordination Centre based at Tullamore in Co Offaly.

Since its launch, Medevac 112 has completed more than 260 missions. In addition to that, the Irish Coast Guard has carried out in excess of 40 missions on behalf of the EAS because it was better placed to respond in terms of location and flying times.

The Department of Health  said: “The MoU requires a full evaluation of the pilot to be initiated three months before the end of the trial period. “This review is nearing completion and a report will be submitted to the Minister for Health shortly.”

43% of all calls were Cardiac-related incidents, including heart attacks. 17% of calls involved medical issues such as strokes, seizures and diabetes. Industrial and agricultural accidents and other trauma incidents made up 19% and just 8% of calls were to serious road traffic collisions.