Manchester Mayor & FBU question GMFRS 90-minute turnout to attacks

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham is considering ordering an independent review into decisions made by fire brigade managers on the night of the Manchester terror attack.

Manchester Evening News is reporting that firefighters are infuriated after they were prevented from responding to the scene for up to 90 minutes after the 10.33 attack.

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Pic: (Manchester Evening News)

The regional control centre for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service GMFRS issued two pre-alerts to firefighters at Central Station shortly after the incident and the crew prepared to turn-out to the incident, they were told to remain on standby at Philips Park station.

One firefighter told the Manchester Evening News that fire crews waited for an hour while their colleagues in the North West Ambulance Service assisted Police at the arena following the incident.

GMFRS were waiting for ‘specialists’ in bulletproof overalls to arrive from Leigh and Heywood before being sent back to Manchester Central before five fire appliances were mobilised to the scene, however, according to the firefighter, ‘by then all of the dangerous work of entering the blasted Arena foyer to tend to badly hurt and dying victims had been done’.

GM MAyor at Leigh Fire Station
Photo: Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham with fire officers at Leigh Fire Station on 14th May.
Pic (GMFRS @manchesterfire)

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham said “I am aware of concerns from firefighters about the speed of the response to the terror attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday night. I am taking these concerns seriously and, at the appropriate time, they will be subject to a full evaluation and briefing but they have to be seen in context. Large numbers of highly-trained professionals were on site within minutes providing support to people. I could not be more proud of all of Greater Manchester’s emergency services who have gone to incredible lengths to carry the city through this dark time.”

Gary Keary, Brigade Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union said: “We have had a meeting with the County Fire Officer and we have raised initial concerns which will be included in a joint investigation.”

The meeting was attended by the County Chief Fire Officer Peter O’ Reilly and Matt Wrack, national leader of the FBU.

Mr Burnham has asked people not to jump to conclusions in this moment when Manchester was still coming to terms with what has happened. ‘What we can say is that this was an extremely serious, fast moving situation and the full nature of it did not become clear for a number of hours. In coming weeks, we will have to understand what decisions were made and why.’

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‘Shock Athy’ brings Life to the Town

A fundraising campaign by fire and ambulance service personnel in Athy, Co. Kildare which began in October last has allowed the members to purchase three defibrillators which will be placed at three locations in the town.

‘Shock Athy’ began raising funds to purchase the three life-saving devices in a bid to provide members of the public with the equipment at three locations in the town, on the Dublin road, Kilkenny road and in the centre of the Heritage Town.

1 Shock Athy Defibs Photo
Photo: (Courtesy Nigel Kelly, Shock Athy)

Local businesses helped support the cause. Members of Athy Fire Service, Athy Ambulance Service and the Athy Order of Malta also raised funds by holding a table quiz and a charity car wash among other events.

From the funds raised and with the support of Tegral Building Products, ‘Shock Athy’ could purchase three machines, cabinets and a training machine.

The defibrillators are located at the Topaz service station on the Dublin road, the Topaz service station on the Kilkenny road and at the Town Hall, Emily square in the town centre.

Shock Athy OMAC 3
OMAC Training in Athy. Photo: (Courtesy Athy Order of Malta)

Athy Order of Malta began instructing on Cardiac First Responder training and on how to use the Public Access Defibrillators in February. These courses will ensure that any person trained on CFR or the defibs will be able to carry out life saving measures effectively.

The three defib units are fully installed at each location and the system is now live with the National Ambulance Service.

Shock Athy AP Nigel Kelly
Ambulance Paramedic Nigel Kelly at ‘Shock Athy’ launch at Athy Fire Station
Photo: Declan Keogh / Emergency Times

Local ambulance paramedic Nigel Kelly is one of the organisers behind the cause. He told Emergency Times that each defib will help save a life and has this advice. ‘In the event of a Cardiac Arrest, dial 999, ask for the ambulance service and the ambulance control centre will advise which machine is nearest to the incident and they can also give you the access code required. On behalf of the ‘Shock Athy’ team, I want to thank everyone involved and a big thanks to all who supported and contributed to this scheme and made it happen’.  

Shock Athy OMAC 1
Photo: (Courtesy Athy Order of Malta)

Training is ongoing with the Order of Malta in Athy.



Carlow, Meath & Laois make the cut at national RTC Challenge

Fire and Rescue Teams from counties Carlow, Meath and Laois scored the highest in the National RTC Trauma and Extrication Challenge 2017 which was held in Navan, Co. Meat yesterday.

Overall, twelve teams participated in a range of challenges under two sections; (Extrication and Trauma) in three stages; (Standard, Rapid ad Complex).

Report: By Declan Keogh
Among the Irish teams were Fire & Rescue teams from counties Meath, Carlow, Laois and Wicklow while the Gardaí, Civil Defence and Tara Mines also entered teams into the challenge. This is the first year that An Garda Síochána have entered a team into the challenge.

ROI Carlow Team
Carlow Fire & Rescue Team (Photo: James Doyle)

The International teams consisted of teams from Hereford & Worchester Fire & Rescue Service in the UK and are from Barcelona in Spain, Albufeira in Portugal.

The RTC Trauma and Extrication Challenge is organised by the Rescue Organisation Ireland (ROI) which was established in 2008 and held their first ROI challenge in Dublin in 2009. The national challenge was also held in other counties and this is the ROI’s second time to stage the event in County Meath.  

We caught up with the Meath Gold Team and the Carlow Fire & Rescue Teams as they participated in their ‘Complex Scenarios’ separately. This scenario has two casualties in the vehicles, and this is the one thing about these challenges, live casualties are being used. The ROI does well to simulate as closely as possible to what a casualty might encounter inside a crashed vehicle out on the roadside.

ROI 2017 Meath team
Meath Team (Photo: James Doyle)

Some scenarios have 10 minutes and others had 30 minutes to compete. Ten minutes might seem like a lot of time to carry out a task, but when the clock starts, it doesn’t seem all that long before the whistle blows. Pádraig ‘O Longaigh is Acting Chief Fire Officer for Meath Fire Service and he is also Secretary of the Rescue Organisation Ireland. I began by asking asked Pádraig if the competitions are about working against the clock, does the fastest teams win and what are the teams marked on.

‘This is not really against the clock, this is about how much time they have and what they need to do within that time is employ best practice, how they use the tools, is the Incident Commander fully in charge of the team, has he got a Plan A, a Plan B, is the Medic looking after the casualty, is the Medic giving due care to the casualty, are the team then using the tools properly, effectively,  are they being safe about what they are doing and using best practice, so it’s not just about the time, it’s also about how they do it.

ROI 2017 Laois
Laois Team (Photo: James Doyle)

One of the scenarios is the ‘Complex Scenarios’. Pádraig also outlines to me what’s involved. ‘What you have here is a time critical casualty who needs to be out pretty quickly and another casualty who needs to be out but there is a little more time to play with. They have in total 30 minutes to get the causality out, employing safe procedures, best practices and at all times casualty centred care’.

Assessing the Teams

ROI 2017 Assessors
The Assessors (Photo: James Doyle)

The challenges have three essential areas of adjudication, first there is the Incident Commander (IC), an IC is watched by an Assessor, then the Medic is watched by an assessor and is marked accordingly and then there are the firefighters who make up the Technical Team and these make up the three strands to the whole thing.

International Dimension

ROI 2017 Albufeira
Albufeira, Portugal Team (Photo: James Doyle)

The ROI decided to begin this challenge in Ireland because of a lot of fatalities and incidents on our roads, and while the whole concept of rescue challenges has been around for approximately 20 or 30 years, Ireland has always included an international dimension to it.

ROI 2017 International Team
Barcelona, Spain Team (Photo: James Doyle)

Planning for the challenge each year takes months of ongoing work and preparation. The ROI committee is made of a strong team from various trauma, extrication and medical services. Pádraig O’ Longaigh says ‘There is a huge amount in planning of the event, we have a whole committee involved in Rescue Organisation Ireland from all over Ireland, from the HSE, Local Authority’s, Fire & Rescue Services, Motorsport Ireland and so on and we spend months in the planning of this’.

ROI 2017 Meath Team 2
Meath Team (Photo: James Doyle)

‘I wish to thank the fire crew in Navan and from around the county for all their help and assistance yesterday and all week in preparing the station and the exercises with us. They worked all day clearing sites and preparing for the next ones. I also want to thank Meath Civil Defence who, outside the participating teams, they also provided welfare and other essential assistance and of course, our sponsors and supporters who always support us each year.


The day ended with a Post Challenge Meal and Awards Ceremony at the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim.

a ROI Emergency Times Results

Photos and Video:

Emergency Times will have a photo album on our Flickr page and a full video of the RTC Challenge later this afternoon on our YouTube channel, in the meantime, here is a good example of how the Best Overall Team in Extrication worked, this is the Carlow Fire & Rescue Service team. 

Wicklow hosts second ‘Save a Life Day’

The second annual ‘Save a Life Day’ will be held on Saturday 20th May at Sinnott Autos in Wicklow Town from 10am to 2pm.

Save a Life Day, which is organised by Wicklow Rapid Response and Wicklow Town Cardiac First Responders is designed to promote public awareness about the Chain of Survival and the important role that members of the public can play in this Chain of Survival, in order to save a life before the arrival of the professional emergency services.

The initiative also promotes the role of the volunteer Community Cardiac First Responders (CFRs) who respond in their local community and the senior clinical level that the Volunteer Doctor of Wicklow Rapid Response can bring to the Chain of Survival in County Wicklow along with the National Ambulance Service.

Save a Life Day

Members of the local emergency services and Community First Responders will attend the event along with the Wicklow Rapid Response Doctor. 

The Sinnott Autos sponsored Wicklow Rapid Response Skoda Yeti 4WD RRV and its advanced lifesaving equipment will be on display. 

Free training in the recognition and management of cardiac arrest, defibrillation and choking will be available to all members of the public who attend.

After the first “Save a Life Day” last year, the Volunteer Wicklow Rapid Response Doctor and National Ambulance Service crews were dispatched to a cardiac arrest in the vicinity. The patient was successfully resuscitated by the team and volunteer members of the public and off duty practitioners who were first on scene.

Since then, Wicklow Rapid Response has been directly involved in a further 9 saves in Wicklow and South Dublin, responding in the Sinnott Skoda Yeti Rapid Response Vehicle to medical, cardiac and trauma emergencies where the doctor is either the nearest resource or the patient would benefit from the clinical skills that WWRR can provide.

WWRR New Vehicle

Wicklow Rapid Response & Wicklow Town Cardiac First Responders

Sinnott Autos Saturday 20th May 10am to 2pm

·        Meet the Volunteer Doctor and Volunteer Responders

·        See the Skoda Yeti Rapid Response Vehicle

·        See the Lifesaving Equipment the Doctor uses

·        Learn how to do CPR 

·        Use an AED defibrillator 

·        Find out how to recognise a STROKE and what to do

·        Learn how to help a Heart attack victim with chest pain

·        Learn how to help someone who is CHOKING 

·        Make a donation 

·        Volunteer to be a RESPONDER

·        Become a SUPPORTER 

Community First Responders such as Wicklow Town CFRs and similar CFR groups are volunteers who live or work in their community and help by providing an early response in the provision of primary lifesaving support to people who have called 999/112 and requested an ambulance because they are dealing with a Cardiac Arrest, Heart Attack (Chest Pain), choking or someone having a Stroke.

The HSE National Ambulance Service Control Centre alerts CFRs when required, and the volunteer responders who are on duty will respond and provide care to the patient till the Ambulance arrives.

NAS ECOps 960

All volunteers are trained to become A Cardiac First Responder and they will successfully complete a Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) approved Cardiac First Response course.

Chain of Survival

Sadly over 5,000 people in Ireland die every year in out of hospital cardiac arrests.

For every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest, their chances of survival decrease by 10%. It is essential that members of the public can perform CPR and use a defibrillator in the first few minutes.

The 5 links in the chain of survival are:

·        Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system

·        Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions

·        Rapid defibrillation

·        Basic and advanced emergency medical services 

·        Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

Thanks to the combined efforts of all involved, these links were completed at scene.

Wicklow Rapid Response is a voluntary organisation, which aims to provide near Intensive Care level treatment for our local communities in the pre-hospital environment, where there are life-threatening circumstances. Our volunteer emergency medical Doctor, who specialises in pre-hospital emergency medicine, using the Skoda Yeti Rapid Response vehicle, to rapidly respond is declared as a National Ambulance Service Assets. He is called simultaneously with the Ambulance, when a serious emergency occurs.

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Major fire in Dublin: Number of units ‘substantially affected’

Gardaí and other emergency services are currently at the scene of a major fire at the Verdemont apartment block, off the Snugborough Rd in Blanchardstown Dublin 15. A number of significant traffic diversions are in place.

Dublin Fire Brigade have six pumps, a 100ft Turntable Ladder, a Water Tanker, Ambulances, an AP car and their Command Support Unit are all at the scene. A drone is also used and Dublin Fire Brigade has said ‘a number of units have been substantially affected by the fire’.

DFB Command Unit
DFB Command Support Unit
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

The fire brigade is advising nearby residents to keep their windows and doors closed.

DFB Command Unit
Inside DFB Command Support Unit
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

There are no reports of any injuries at the incident.

Dublin Fire Brigade host Chief Fire Officers Conference

Expect the Unexpected – that’s the theme for this year’s Chief Fire Officers Conference which kicks off at Croke Park in Dublin tomorrow, hosted by Dublin Fire Brigade.

Business intelligence within the fire service, an overview of the UK fire service and the Paris Terrorist attacks will form part of the agenda on the opening day at the annual Chief Fire Officers conference in Dublin tomorrow.

Dozens of shiny red fire appliances from various suppliers are already lined up at the outdoor vehicle display area and inside, the final touches are also being made to the internal exhibition area.

Damien English T.D, Minister of State, Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government is expected to open the conference which will lead to an address by Dublin Chief Fire Officer Pat Fleming before delegates hear from the first invited speaker who will speak about the Paris Terrorists Attacks.

International speakers on day one will include Brigadier General Philippe Boutinaud, Commander of the Paris Fire Brigade, Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean, Washington DC and Peter Holland, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser at the UK’s Home Office.

TechTalks will also take place by Hunters Apparel and Respro Ltd.

(Photo: Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Sean Hogan, National Director, Fire and Emergency Management opens Day Two of the conference which will also hear from speakers on Irish Fire Service Environment, Sprinklers, Fire Service challenges and opportunities in the US, Rembrand, Fire Safety and Media Communications in a crisis.

Speakers on day two include Christian Hadfield, Group Manager, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean, Washington DC, Elie Van Strien, Ex Chief Fire Officer of Eindhoven, Rotterdam & Amsterdam, Dr Robert MacFarlane, UK, Cabinet Office and Alan Breen, Media Relations and Marketing Manager.

Mallon Technology will also deliver a TechTalk on Day two.

Emergency Times will join Fire-Ireland at the conference and you can follow updates on out Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @emergencytimes

Case Study: National Ambulance Service on Tetra

The necessity for the provision of resilient communications proved to be a major influence for the National Ambulance Service when they made their decision to make the move to Tetra.

For the NAS, improving patient care is crucial and a rapid response- critical.

On roll-out, a performance improvement action plan had been put in place in order to improve response times and patient outcome. These outcomes include monitoring and improving processes around call-taking allocation and dispatching, appropriate targeting of emergency vehicles and improving emergency department turn-around times.


The development of a single national ambulance control centre was a key priority for the health service, in line with international best practice

The National Ambulance Service can now communicate with all other supporting state agencies from Mazin to Mizen Head specifically for aeromedical, search and rescue with the Irish Aer Corps and the Irish Coast Guard.

Control & Performance Manager at the National Ambulance Service is Pat McCreanor. He outlies the benefits Tetra has brought to the NAS.

‘From the first time that we tested Tetra Communications, I have to say that everybody within the National Ambulance Service was impressed by the clarity of the voice and also the ability it had to communicate’.

NAS Pat McCreanor 960
Pat McCreanor, National Ambulance Service

‘For us to be able to talk to people at the scene allows you to have almost a pair of eyes looking at what’s happening and we wouldn’t have been able to do this in the old analog world, you wouldn’t have been able to do it in Cork and in Donegal at the same time whereas today we can do it in Cork and Donegal at the same time’.

In 2015, the National Ambulance Service reconfigured its control centres from up to eleven regional control centres down into one system over two sites, one in Tallaght, South County Dublin and one in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, and Tetra allows the NAS to do this and to operate the system.

NAS ECAS Operator 960

All of the country is now live, all of the ambulances are now live on Tetra and they operate on a 24-hour basis and will continue to operate on a 24-hour basis.

Mr McCreanor concludes ‘We have interoperability with people who are providing other services to us. This has enriched our ability it provides­­ better hospital and pre-hospital emergency care services to the public of whom we serve. I have never come across a situation where Tetra has let us down, so Tetra for me fulfils what we require. It’s fantastic from our perspective’.

Images: (Tetra Communications)

Fatal fire in Limerick

One woman has died and four other people escaped uninjured following a house fire in Limerick this morning.

The woman, aged in her 20’s was found inside the house by firefighters who were called to the fire which occurred at approximately 3.20am at Riverbank in Annacotty.

Four other people managed to escape from the fire.

Limerick City Fire Service fire ireland

Units of Limerick City and County Fire Service attended the scene. Two teams in BA searched the house and discovered the woman’s body in an upstairs bedroom. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gardaí are investigating the cause of the fire.