National Ambulance Director taking response figures ‘very serious’

Director of the National Ambulance Service Martin Dunne has said he is taking “very seriously” figures which show wide geographical variations in emergency response times. This follows informaton received by Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten after he submitted a parliamentary question to Minister for Health James Reilly.

It shows that less than half of cardiac call outs in the west of Ireland are responded to within the recommended 19 minutes set down by Health Information and Quality Authority.

Martin Dunne was speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning (21/10/13) and said the Service was introducing new vehicles to deal with non-emergency cases and lessen the burden on larger ambulances, as well as streamlining their command and control centres. He said: “The response time set down by HIQA require us to have a vehicle in place by 19 minutes – or 18 minutes 59 seconds to be exact – and in certain areas of the country it has been highlighted to us that we’re not meeting those targets. “We’re looking at that very seriously and we’re putting several mechanisms in place, I assume, to make sure that we start meeting these targets”.

He said, some issues which caused problems when accessing rural areas were down to Poor weather and bad road infrastructure. However, he said traffic gridlock was also an issue in accessing emergencies in urban areas.

He said the service was currently going through “huge change” in order to improve response times, but declined to give a timeframe for when the Ambulance Service would meet the 19 minute target across the country.

Mr Dunne said he was happy with the number of ambulances and the current level of Health Service Executive funding at his disposal.

Fire cover in some Kildare to be covered by Tallaght fire station

Concerns have being expressed at Dublin City Council as to why Dublin Fire Brigade are covering areas within neighbouring counties, and in particular Tallaght Fire Station covering Naas and Leixlip in County Kildare when there are already fire stations in these towns.

At a recent meeting of South Dublin County Council, councillors learned that the manager at the Eastern regional Control Centre based extended the turn-out area of Tallaght fire station. Councillors were informed one of the two fire tenders at Tallaght is now a ‘first responder’ for parts of Kildare and on the N7.

It was also revealed that the second Tallaght Tender will be marked down as a ‘second responder’ to Naas town, in addition to Leixlip in north Kildare, Clondalkin and Lucan, Co. Dublin.

Cathaoirleach Donal Looney said staff in Tallaght had deep concerns about resources and safety implications of the move. Tallaght station was one of the busiest in Ireland and he called on Local Authorities in Dublin and Kildare, as the regional administrator of the fire service, to reconsider. Council staff said the addition of adjacent parts of Co Kildare would add just 0.5 per cent to call-out activity expected from Tallaght. Officials said the fire services were nominally named by their county, but it was “a national service”.

Waterford Marine Search & Rescue team are awarded for their ‘helping hand’

Volunteers of Waterford Marine Search and Rescue are proud recipients of Spar’s ‘Helping Hand Community Award’. The competition winners saw 26 prizes of €1,000, 5 prizes of €2,800 and finally one prize of a whopping €10,000 up for grabs.

Olympic Gold medallist Katie Taylor, patron of the fund, had this to say ‘The response to the competition was amazing and entries flooded in from every corner of the country, but the overall winner, Waterford Marine Search & rescue stood out from the start.

Waterford Marine Search & Rescue were selected as Overall national Winners and were awarded a prize of €10,000.  WMSAR Vice Chairman Declan Barry says the money will help go towards the purchase of a new Search & Rescue base in Waterford. “It is hoped the new base will be fitted out with an operations room, conference room, training room, a canteen and shower and toilet facilities”.

A ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign is currently underway by Waterford Marine Search & Rescue to help donations for the new building. Here is a link to the page:

Watch the video of the awards.

Gardai rescue man from burning house during stand-off

Gardai rescued a man from a burning house following a seven hour stand-off which concluded in the early hours of this morning near Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. The man had barricaded himself into the house and had a can of petrol with him.

Specialist Garda negotiators from Dublin were drafted in while the Regional Armed Support Unit, an Ambulance and the Ballinasloe Fire Brigade were also alerted to attend.

The drama unfolded at about 9.30pm last evening when gardai were called to a house at Kilconell, near Ballinasloe when a man in his 40s barricaded himself into the property. He had made it known that he had a can of petrol with him. Gardaí quickly confirmed that there was nobody else with the man in the house.

Over the course of the stand-off, Garda negotiators attempted to talk the man out of the house, but he refused all requests to leave the property. Just after 4am, members of the Regional Support Unit burst their way into the property when flames were observed inside the house.  They located the man who was uninjured, and pulled him to safety.

Ballinasloe Fire Brigade tackled the blaze and quickly brought it under control.

The man was arrested and taken to Ballinasloe Garda station where he was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. Garda said everybody was relieved that the incident had been resolved without serious injury to anyone.