Medical Students test their clinical skills at SimWars

The School of Medicine at University College Dublin hosted ‘SimWars’, a medical simulation competition for medical and nursing students in Ireland on 25th February.

The event was organised by members of the Emergency Medicine Student Society of Ireland EMSSI and saw students work in teams of five to manage a number of simulated medical emergency scenarios which included using medical mannequins, actors and digital technologies. Together these provided students with a realistic and immersive learning experience.

A patient with a simulated seatbelt injury to the chest being assessed in the live final
Pic: Patient with simulated seatbelt injury being assessed
Photo: (Courtesy Ian Stephens)

The event represented an opportunity for students to test not only their clinical skills, but also their ability to work as a team and perform under pressure. Expert emergency doctors and advanced paramedics from Loughlinstown Ambulance Station provided feedback on their collective and individual performances throughout the day, as well as delivering teaching sessions on topical issues within emergency medicine.

A judging panel of Professors and Doctors oversaw the capabilities and decisions of forty students who participated in the competition, representing the medical schools of University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, The Royal College of Surgeons, NUI Galway and University College Cork. Judges included Professor John Ryan, Dr. David Menzies, Dr. Alan Watts, Dr. Lisa Guthrie, Dr. David Monks and Dr. Eimhear Quinn.

SimWars Live Audience
Photo: (Courtesy Ian Stephens)

After managing both a polytrauma and a peri-arrest simulation that morning, teams from Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway were put forward as the highest performing teams to participate in the SimWars Grand Final, which took place that afternoon in the Garret Fitzgerald Debating Chamber in UCD. In front of a live audience, both teams performed a tight battle with NUI Galway coming out on top to scoop the SimWars Cup for its first year and taking the competition to the West for 2018.

Andy and Simone Loughlinstown AMbulance Station handover
Pic: Andy & Simone of Loughlinstown Ambulance Station had over ‘patient’ to Trinity College Team
Photo: (Courtesy Ian Stephens)

Two final year medical students at UCD, Jamie Condren and Tiarnán Byrne both organised the event. In a statement to Emergency Times, Jamie said “It is really encouraging to see healthcare students around the country training together alongside doctors and pre-hospital practitioners who have given up time to teach them in the evenings after classes and shifts are done. It’s clear that students recognise the real value of simulation training in terms of bridging the gap between theory and clinical practice.”

SIM WARD Fiachra Morris of NUI Galway accepting the SimWars Trophy from Dr
Pic: (Fiachra Morris, NUI Galway accepting SimWar trophy from Dr. David Menzies)
Photo: (Courtesy Ian Stephens)

Dr. David Menzies, a consultant in emergency medicine at St. Vincent’s University Hospital said “Simulation education plays a key role in the training of emergency physicians. The ‘SimWars’ competition represents a unique opportunity for students to consolidate important clinical and interpersonal skills using this immersive style of learning.”

The organising committee would like to thanks wish to thank all the people, groups and sponsors for their assistance in making this year’s competition such a success, particularly the kind sponsorship from the Medical Protection Society, Martina Byrne of Galen Pharma, SP Services,, Flashpoint Medical Systems, Celtic Laundries and the Pre-hospital Emergency Care Council.

The teams from Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway who were finalists in the competition
Pic: Finalists: Teams from Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway
Photo: (Courtesy Ian Stephens)

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Construction of new Coast Guard hanger to get underway in days

Works on a new multi-million-euro hanger and operations base at Dublin Airport by CHC Ireland, the company which provides search and rescue services for the Irish Coast Guard is expected to begin in early March and the works are expected to be complete by mid-2018.

CHC Ireland is a subsidiary of Canada’s CHC Helicopters has secured planning permission for the new development at Dublin Airport after being awarded a Government contract worth €500m for the project. In 2012, CHC were awarded a ten-year contract to provide the Search and Rescue SAR service to the Irish Coast Guard IRCG.

The works will involve the demolition of a temporary 596sq m hangar and an office building and be replaced with a 2,000sq m hangar complex that will include the new operations control unit.

CHC provide the SAR service in Ireland with five Sikorsky S92a Rescue helicopters to its bases in Dublin, Sligo, Shannon and Waterford. The fifth helicopter is a replacement helicopter which is used during repair and maintenance of another.


The IRCG SAR Service completed 886 missions last year. The service covers the Atlantic to the west of Ireland and the Celtic Sea, to a range of 200 nautical miles (370km) and frequently assists in missions to cliffs, mountains and inland waterways and even in pollution control.

Sixty-one patient transfers from offshore islands and transfers of nine patients to the UK for emergency procedures mainly relating to organ transplant were also carried out last year.

The Government awarded CHC Ireland a 10-year, €500m contract to operate the life-saving service in 2012. The Air Corps had traditionally provided Ireland’s search and rescue capability.

CFR Respond 2017 set to be even Bigger and Better this year

It’s less than a week away from the 4th National Conference for Community First Responders ‘Respond 2017’ which takes place in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath on 4th March.

Since 2016, over 50 new CFR schemes have been registered and this year’s conference is set to be bigger and better than previous years.

Coordinated by CFI Ireland, Respond 2017 is supported by PHECC, the Irish Heart Foundation and the National Ambulance Service, bringing you the high quality mixture of international and local speakers, interactive workshops and networking that has been the hallmark of previous conferences.

960 Respond 2017 Bags Pens Emergency Times

Registration is still open and can be accessed through website. All tickets include coffees, refreshments, lunch, delegate pack and entry to three workshops and in order to assist with planning, delegates are being asked to select your workshops at the time of booking by selecting one from “Workshop 1”, one from “Workshop 2” and one from “Workshop 3” for each delegate.

The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) has supported Respond and CFR Ireland from the start.

This year’s Premium Sponsor for Respond 2017 is Physio Control, who are the world leader in the development, manufacture, sale and service of external defibrillator/monitors and emergency medical response products and services.

960 Respond 2017 Save a Life

The programme for Respond 2017 includes a presentation on the CFR Ireland and National Ambulance Service strategy, CFR’s look at Delta calls, ROSC, what happens next and Teach the Kids CPR.

Keynote speakers include Professor Richard Lyon on ‘making the luck of the Irish and how to survive cardiac arrest’. The conference also looks at International picture and will provide an insight into what’s new in CFR internationally.

Respond 2017 will also deliver 8 workshops where delegates can get a hands-on experience or learn more about CFR and CPR. CISM is one of the eight workshops on the day.

960 Respond 2017 Merchandice Emergency Times

To attend, simply visit the CFR website at and go to Respond 2017. Entries close on Tuesday.
Pics: (CFR Ireland Facebook)

Castlerea Fire Station remains closed

There are increased calls on the fire service in Roscommon to allocate additional firefighters to allow Castlerea Fire Station reopen and operate within the community.

A public meeting about the closure was held on Tuesday 21st February at a local GAA club where Deputy Ministers and local councillors were called on by members of the public to seek additional resources to open the fire station in Castlerea.

Roscommon Castlerea Fire Station
Pic: Castlerea Fire Station Photo: (Declan Keogh /

Speaking to local media following the meeting on Tuesday night, Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said he would seek a meeting with the Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council to see what could be done to have the station operational again.

Roscommon’s Chief Fire Officer John Keane confirmed on January 20th that the station would close temporarily due to staff shortages as the remaining crew numbers fell below critical levels.

Roscommon Fire Brigade Headquaters
Pic: Roscommon Fire Service Headquarters, Roscommon Town
Photo: (Declan Keogh /

In a statement to local radio, Shannonside FM, Mr. Keane said ‘all emergency calls will be answered via the usual 999 or 112 numbers, and that fire services from Roscommon town, Ballyhaunis, Ballaghadereen or Elphin will cover the area.’

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10th Anniversary of Limerick Garda & Firefighter Deaths

Today is the 10th Anniversary of Garda Brian Kelleher and Firefighter Michael Liston, who were both knocked down and killed while attending at the scene of a collision outside Foynes, Co. Limerick in the early hours of Sunday 25th February 2007.

A collision had occurred at around 5am on the N69 at Morgan South, Borrigone, between Askeaton and Foynes in which the emergency services were called to.

10th Anniversary Limerick Garda Firefighter Funerals Emergency Times Tribute

While the car was being loaded onto a Transported both the Garda and the firefighter were struck by an oncoming car at around 5.15am. They both died at the scene.

Garda Brian Kelleher, 46 was from Newcastle West and 48-year-old retained Firefighter Michael Liston was from Foynes, Co. Limerick. Garda Kelleher, a father of three boys was based at Croom in Co Limerick, while Firefighter Michael Liston was from Foynes and a father of four.

A 19-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drink driving and taken to Henry Street Garda Station. On 11th December 2007, the driver, from Lenamore, Ballylongford in Co. Kerry was charged in connection with the fatal crash that claimed the life of a Garda Kelleher and Firefighter Liston.

The incident was described by Limerick’s Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Carmel Kirby as ‘the worst day ever in the history of the fire service in Co Limerick’

960 LK CFO Carmel Kirby Emergency Times
Pic: Limerick CFO Carmel Kirby leads Guard of Honour
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

The then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, said it was a stark reminder of the risks taken by the Emergency Services. The Garda Representative Association said it highlighted the challenges and dangers inherent in their work while Carmel Kirby, Chief Fire Officer, County Limerick said it was the worst day ever in the history of the fire service in Co Limerick.

960 FF Michael Listons coffin passes Foynes Fire Station Emergency Times
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Limerick East TD Willie O’ Dea was Minister for Defence in 2007 and described the incident as ‘A terrible tragedy’. He said people who work in the emergency services could be called out and at any time of the day or night and that made the deaths even more tragic. Both the Defence Minister and the Justice Minister sympathised with the bereaved families on behalf of the Government.


Hundreds of Gardai, Fire Officers, Firefighters and many other service personnel from all over Ireland attended the funerals.

960 Garda Brian Kelleher Funeral Garda Review Emergency Times
Pic: Remains of Garda Brian Kelleher arriving at graveyard
Photo: (Neil Ward / Garda Review)

960 SO Michael Donlon leads cortege
Pic: Foynes Station Officer Michael Donlon leads firefighters cortege
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

At separate funerals in Foynes and Dromin, family, friends and colleagues were told the work of emergency services is often taken for granted. Garda Kellehers’ funeral was held at Dromin while Firefighter Listons’ funeral was held in Foynes.

960 Garda Brian Kelleher Funeral Garda Review
Pic: Funeral of Garda Brian Kelleher
Photo: (Neil Ward / Garda Review)

960 FF Michael Liston funeral leaves church Emergency Times
Pic: Funeral of Firefighter Michael Liston
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Mourners were told: “We don’t think of the serious risks that gardai and fire officers face almost daily, until we are faced with such a tragedy, as we have here today.”

Among them were representatives from the Government and State bodies. President Mary McAleese was represented by Captain Lorraine Fahey from the Defence Forces and Captain Mick Treacy represented Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Martin Cullen, Transport Minister, also attended Garda Kelleher’s funeral along with Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy.

AGS Comm Limerick Funeral
Pic: Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy attends FF Listons funeral
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Vigils being held outside 20 Garda Stations in support of Whistleblowers

Several vigils are being held outside Garda Stations across the country in support of Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

The vigils are organised by campaign group ‘Uplift’. Gatherings are being held at twenty Garda stations since 6pm. Campaign spokesperson Siobhan O’ Donoghue said “These vigils are our way of standing in solidarity with Maurice McCabe’s family and all other guards who want to speak out about wrongdoing and be protected.

Campaigners outside Carlow Garda Station

Photo: (

The quiet vigils will take place for approximately two hours mainly outside divisional or district headquarters in each county. Organisers say it’s not a protest, but in support of the Gardaí themselves and whistleblowers within An Garda Síochána.

Siobhan O’ Donohue concluded “We believe the guards do a very important public service, we need whistle-blowers to be protected and we need the senior Garda management to be accountable.”

Former Mayor of Dublin opens petition in support of Dublin Fire Brigade

SIPTU Firefighters have overwhelmingly voted in favour of taking industrial and strike action in a dispute resulting from an attempt by senior management in Dublin City Council to outsource the Emergency Medical Service ambulance call and dispatch function at Dublin Fire Brigade.

SIPTU Firefighters voted by 93% to 7% in favour of strike action and 97% to 3% in favour of industrial action. 

Brendan O’Brien, SIPTU Sector Organiser said: “Our members have given an emphatic mandate to the SIPTU DFB Strike Committee to take whatever industrial measures are required to resist the attempts to break-up the Emergency Medical Service.”

Firefighters from Dublin Fire Brigade have been expressing their own view on their personal facebook pages while Councillor Christy Burke, former Mayor of Dublin City has initiated a petition, calling for support for Dublin Fire Brigade. In a statement on social media, Cllr Burke said “Let me make this very clear, they administrate our country they don’t own it. The country belongs to the people not out administration. I’m going to print and hand the petition to the senior management and to the Taoiseach’s office at Leinster House. I’m sorry, but this is not the bin or water charges, it’s people’s lives and I’ll not stand by and watch this happen.”

960 full Cllr Christy Burke
Photo: Cllr Christy Burke speaking to a Dublin Firefighter recently
Pic: (Cllr Christy Burke facebook page)

The Dublin Fire Brigade SIPTU Strike Committee will consider the options available to it in the coming days and decide upon the next steps in their campaign to retain the DFB Emergency Medical Service as a fully functioning operation capable of delivering the best service possible to the residents of Dublin. SIPTU has said its representatives will remain available for meaningful engagement with the senior management of Dublin City Council if it is interested in finding an acceptable resolution to this long running dispute.

Fire at Popular Longford Pub tonight

Fire Crews in County Longford were alerted to deal with a fire at a pub in Granard, Co. Longford tonight.

The fire which occurred at John V Donohue’s pub on the Main Street in Granard took place earlier this evening. Longford Fire & Rescue Service attended the scene with fire crews from Granard Fire Station remaining at scene this evening.

960 Granard Station Longford
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Gardaí have said the road was closed for a time as firefighters dealt with the incident. It is understood the premises suffered a significant amount of smoke damage.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire. Gardaí are investigating the incident.

Ambulance Crews attacked in two seperate incidents

 Ambulance crews from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service were attacked in two separate incidents last night.

The first incident occurred in Lurgan just after midnight when a crew were attending to a patient who had been stabbed. While they were providing on scene treatment, a male opened the side door of the ambulance and removed an oxygen cylinder when he placed himself at the front of the ambulance where he made attempts to put the cylinder through he front windscreen of the ambulance causing considerable damage.

The patient who was being treated at the scene declined transport to the hospital.

This allowed the crew to return to their station and change to a spare vehicle.

The damaged vehicle will be off the road for at least a week.

Ambulance Attacks 02.02.17
(Damaged Ambulance. Photo: Courtesy NIAS)

The second incident occurred in north Belfast approximately two hours later when a member of staff was assaulted by a patient. The ambulance paramedic was not seriously injured and made himself available to respond to other calls on the shift.

If the paramedic had been seriously injured, he would have been stood down for the night, leaving parts of North Belfast and other areas exposed without adequate emergency ambulance cover.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is proactive in trying to reduce attacks on its members. The NIAS has called for an end to these attacks and has said the attacks cannot be excused in any way. They added that they will continue to call for the full rigors of the law to be applied to anyone found guilty of any such attacks.