World Mental Health Day – A focus on emergency service professionals

‘Emergency staff are the people that are there to hold the hand of loved ones who are left behind and they themselves need to be supported in that role’ – Dr. Conor Deasy

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day of awareness and support for those suffering from, or who are close to suffering from mental health issues. The Department of Health has designated this year’s theme as “young people and mental health in a changing world”, with a focus on raising awareness among adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health.

Report by Declan Keogh
In addition to this year’s theme, we here at Emergency Timesis also thinking about all those emergency medical service professionals, the firefighters, gardaí, searchers, rescuers and defenders; those on the front-line, in the background or those behind the scenes, who on every day of their working lives, will come face to face with the harsh reality of today’s struggles and fight for survival.

In yesterday’s Budget, additional resources were allocated to mental health services, bringing the total allocation to almost €1 billion.

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD said: “We all have a role as citizens in terms of promoting positive mental health and resilience. Let’s take the opportunity this week to renew our efforts in this regard.”

During the recent EMS Gathering 2018 in Cork, I interviewed Doctor Conor Deasy, ED Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Cork University Hospital and Deputy Medical Director of the National Ambulance Service.

Among many of the topics we discusses, mental health and dealing with incidents brought on by issue relating to mental health were also discussed. I asked Dr. Deasy what effect can these situations have on emergency service personnel who are faced with them daily.

‘In relation to mental health and the devastating, heart-breaking places it can bring so many people of all ages, emergency medical service professionals see the raw grief that families endure when a loved one is in their darkest place or when a suicide attempt is made. They’re first on the scene, attempting to resuscitate that person and they’re the people that are there to hold the hand of loved ones who are left behind and they themselves need to be supported in that role.’

Often, we have a focus on the technical skills, getting down and doing chest compressions, providing bag-valve-mask ventilations, using defibrillators when in fact where there is an equal if not greater need is the actual support of that EMS person, of that family’s kindness and compassion and these are possible to learn also.”

Dr Conor Deasy on Mental Health Day
Dr. Conor Deasy at EMS Gathering in Cork. (Photo: Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

I asked Dr. Deasy is it enough to offer empathy during a debrief back at based or are emergency personnel getting the training and support they need?

“No, it’s not, and it is possible to teach empathy, it is possible to teach emotional intelligence and we’re moving into that space now, for example, in terms of this year’s EMS Gathering, in one workshop we dealt with those situations, compassion with competence, ‘One chance to do it right’ was the title of the session. In that session we simulated a resuscitation of a young man, and the paramedic breaking the news to his wife. We had a workshop that deals with just that, we got experts in to facilitate that workshop, people who have done masters and PhD’s in the area and who are across the globe in literature when it comes to those situations and it forms the best practice when it comes to that type of activity and that’s a fundamental part of what’s it’s like to become a frontline provider.”

Most emergency services have a support mechanism in place to support heir personnel and volunteers during crisis and critical situations and in most cases, a Critical Incident Stress Management CISM service is used.

Critical Incident Stress Management, or CISM, is an intervention protocol developed specifically for dealing with traumatic events. It was first developed for use with military combat veterans and then civilian first responders such as gardaí, fire, ambulance, emergency workers and disaster rescuers and it has now been adapted and used virtually everywhere there is a need to address traumatic impact in people’s lives.

It is a formal, highly structured and professionally recognised process for helping those involved in a critical incident to share their experiences, vent emotions, learn about stress reactions and symptoms and given referral for further help if required. It is not psychotherapy. It is a confidential, voluntary and educative process, sometimes called ‘psychological first aid’.

Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly today said: “Meeting our young people where they are is vitally important, and so this week I have announced a number of new initiatives around the use of e-mental health and digital technologies, including a number of pilot programmes for tele-counselling; a dedicated mental health telephone number and crisis text service. I have also confirmed new funding for community led youth mental health initiatives and I hope that this new investment will continue to build mental resilience for young people in Ireland.

“I would encourage people to visit the new website, which provides a significantly improved experience for those seeking mental health information, supports and services. People can now find personalised support options through a search tool that generates information on online resources, telephone and face-to-face services relevant to a wide range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and stress.”

For more on Mental Health Awareness, visit

20 people dead in limousine crash in New York

20 dead following accident involving limousine in upstate New York

New York State Police confirm 20 people are dead following a limousine crash in upstate New York.

Investigators were making their way to Schoharie, about 170 miles north of New York City.

Police say two vehicles were involved in the crash shortly before 2 p.m. at the intersection of State Route 30 and State Route 30A.

State Police have set up a dedicated phone line to assist family members of the victims.

Breaking News Emergency Times

European Commission funds natural disaster exercises in Civil Protection

These exercises are Module Exercises (ModEX) where participants are given more routine and new skills to assist them with coping with natural disasters in and outside the European Union.

European Commission funding for these high level training scenarios range from a heavy earthquake with flooding and mudslides to trench rescues, exploded mines, and CBRN, all involving heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR).

EC Funding covers exercises carried out in 2017 and 2018.

These exercises have taken place on training sites across Europe in Provence in France, Eisenerz in Austria, Montana in Bulgaria, Liverpool in the UK and Tinglev in Denmark.

960 MOdEX Denmark

In the earthquake and flooding scenario in Bulgaria, different training modules are used. Three types of search and rescue units, three types of medical units, assistance and support Teams and coordination teams of the EU.

This exercises are developed, planned and implemented by an international consortium and financed by the commission of the European Union.

In practice these modules can be trained during the exercises:

  • Medium and Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
  • USAR in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) conditions
  • Advanced Medical Post with or without Surgery (AMP/S)
  • Field Hospital (FHOS)
  • Technical Assistance Support Team (TAST)
  • Experts of a Union Civil Protection Team (UCPT)

In ModEX additional the USAR modules have the opportunity of re-classification for standards of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG).

960 ModEX EU Maps

ModEX France

One of the most recent exercises was held last month in Provence, France at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Officiers de Sapeurs-Pompiers (ENSOSP). (French academy for fire, rescue and civil protection officers – ENSOSP).

This area presents several facilities usable to host the ModEX and its teams.

The teaching centre covers 30.000 m² with 34 regular classrooms for 12 to 48 people. There are 15 multimedia equipped classrooms and special classrooms for table top exercises. There are 2 auditoriums which can facilitate 300 and 100 people respectfully.

Welfare services are catered for in a restaurant with the capacity of 1.000 persons a day and there are 450 single rooms with TV and Internet access.  There is also parking for 400 cars and ample sports facilities at this centre.

The ENSOSP’s operational training centre in Vitrolles reproduces the entire panel of the operational situations: fire, rescue, man made risks, including 6 fire and rescue stations with 64 fire engines, all of which is supervised by a command and control centre.

960 ModEX October

ModEX Liverpool

One ModEX which was held closer to our own shores was held in the UK in October 2017 at Merseyside in Liverpool. Four different training areas were used in this ModEX; Bury Training and Safety Centre, Croxtech Community Fire Station, Altcar Training Camp and a decommissioned tunnel in Liverpool.

Liverpool’s Training & Development Academy (TDA) offers a wide and diverse range of training from initial trainee programmes. The TDA offers facilities to rival national and international Fire and Rescue Service, including conference and teaching rooms and a 60-seat lecture theatre, all with fully interactive IT facilities. The fire training house was one of the first purpose-built breathing apparatus training venues in the UK and provides the facility enabling firefighters to train with live fire scenarios.

The practical training facilities also include a state-of-the-art, realistic fire training building and a wide range of outdoor training facilities. The recent additions of a trench rescue simulator, confined space tunnels, search and rescue dog training area and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) rig provide comprehensive facilities to train people from within the Fire and Rescue Service and colleagues from other emergency services in the very latest search and rescue techniques.

960 ModEX Liverpool

ModEX Austria

Earlier this year a ModEX took place in May at Eisenerz in Austria. The training ground is an old mining area, which partly is still used. For that exercise, 3 levels of the area were used for Urban Search and Rescue, mountain rescue, cave rescue/rescue in a mine, recue in tunnels, firefighting, Water Purification, High Capacity Pumping as well as Advanced Medical Post. Off-road driving was also is possible.

There is enough space at this centre for Base of Operations as well as accommodation in fixed buildings.

ModEX Bulgaria

In March, ModEX took place at the Professional Training Centre at Montana in Bulgaria, located in north-western Bulgaria, 130 km from the capital city of Sofia and 30 km east of the Serbian border. This centre is in operation since 2005 and is part of the Directorate Regional Fire Safety and Civil Protection of Montana‚ under the Directorate General Fire Safety and Civil Protection in the Ministry of Interior.

This training centre has two licenses. A license issued by the National Agency for Vocational Education and training for conducting and certifying vocational training for attainment of professional qualification degree for the profession, First Responders to Disasters, Accidents and Catastrophes.

Another license issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency for conducting specialized training in radiation protection and attainment of professional qualification in handling sources of ionizing radiations.

960 Modex 2

The modern facilities in the Centre allow the trainees to experience real-life obstacles in the execution of search, rescue and other life-saving operations.

Fields for preliminary training and simulators for car crashes, earthquakes, train accident, water rescue activities and CBRN incidents can accommodate more than 100 people simultaneously for exercising all different techniques. In addition to that the close cooperation of the Training Centre with the Administration of the town of Montana, allows the use of additional buildings surrounding the Training Centre which are not being used for other purposes. The Training Centre is also part of the NATO training facilities network, specialized in CBRN protection and training.

The main activities of this training centre include training of rescuers and experts from the Directorate General Fire Safety and Civil Protection in the Ministry of Interior Special training on radiological protection. Training on external programs include (volunteers, units of the Integrated Rescue System, experts from coordination headquarters in case of disasters), organizing and conducting national and international exercises and also conducting scientific and methodological activities.

960 MOdEX MOntana 2



In January 2018 ModEX took place at Tinglev in Denmark. The DEMA Emergency Services College is situated in the southern part of the peninsula Jutland around 12 km north of the Danish-German border.
The training facilities of the DEMA Emergency Services College include a large training ground of 130.000 square metres. It is used for small and large-scale exercises and is the key point in all educational activities at the College. Its layout simulates a small city with three main areas (two urban and one industrial).

960 MOdEX Trench

More training scenarios will be held before the end of this year and the EU Commission whose main objective is to provide emergency responders and search and rescue teams with more routine and new skills to assist them with coping with natural desasters in and outside of Europe.


(All photos courtesy EU ModEX)


Three Police Officers stabbed in North London

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that three police officers suffered knife wounds during an incident last night.

The police officers were called to deal with an incident at Liverpool road, Islington at around 10.45pm last night and as they attempted to break up a disturbance at a residential address, the crowd became hostile towards them and the they were stabbed.

The Metropolitan Police stated “Officers attended and were met with hostility. Three officers sustained knife wounds.”

It’s believed that the injuries sustained by the officers are life-threatening.

It’s understood personal panic alarms were activated and around 30 police officers responded to the location to assist their colleagues.

Lewisham Met Police Tweeted ‘So far a night of unacceptable attacks on Team A officers. 2 officers spat at and another one with a dislocated knee. Unfortunately all from a male who appears to be under the influence of drink/drugs.

It’s not believed that the injuries sustained by the officers are life-threatening.

Three males were arrested at the scene in connection with the incident.

Laois/Offaly win Garda Coiste Siamsa Inter-Divisional GAA finals

Garda GAA teams travelled to St. Loman’s GAA Club at Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath for the games.

Laois/Offaly have won the Garda Síochána Coiste Siamsa Inter-Divisional GAA finals yesterday.

960 LS OY Team Win 06
Winners: (Laois/Offaly Garda Team)

On Tuesday last, DMR South Central (SC) won against DMR West in the Dublin Finals in Westmanstown which meant they were to represent Dublin in the National Finals yesterday.

Half time scores in the semi-finals were:

Garda College             1-8
Laois/Offaly                 1-7

DMR South Central      1-1
Cavan/Monaghan        0-6

Full Time Score

Garda College             3-12
Laois/Offaly                 2-11

DMR South Central      4-7
Cavan/Monaghan        0-9

Despite playing great football, the scores just weren’t coming in for Cavan/Monaghan.

At 2pm in the Semi-finals, Garda College took on DMR SC while Kerry were against Laois/Offaly.

Kerry and Garda College lost those games which meant DMR SC came up against Laois/Offaly in the Inter-Divisional Final at 4pm.

960 DMR SC Runners Up 05
Runners Up: (Dublin DMR South Central)

Both teams drew on the final whistle, which went to a free kick’s competition. Laois/Offaly won though in the free kick competitions.

Well done to all the teams who took park in the Coiste Siamsa Inter-Divisional Finals at Cusack Park, Mullingar.
*Source & Photos: Garda GAA Club and Coiste Siamsa

Electric blankets spark a fire safety recall

SuperValu and Centra is conducting a further voluntary recall of ‘Daewoo’ branded single bed and double bed sized electric blankets.

Both stores have become aware that some of the above products may have a manufacturing defect, which may cause the blankets to spark or go on fire.

The models affected are:

Daewoo Double Electric Blanket Model HEA 1179
Daewoo Single Electric Blanket Model HEA 1178

(Date Code EP103849-0617)

The products and Date Code affected were sold in SuperValu and Centra between January and March 2018.

If you have any of these products with the affected date code EP103849-0617, please
stop using immediately and return the product to the point of purchase for a full refund.

If you have any queries, please contact the customer care line on: (021) 4824320.

Product Recall Electric Blankets

Defence Forces Chief of Staff says military is facing challenges

Defence Forces Chief of Staff says military is facing challenges.

The Irish Defence Forces is facing challenges ahead, however, it is not in crisis, according to its Chief of Staff.

Vice Admiral Mark Mellett said his number one priority for members of the defence forces is resolving the pay issue and said he does not accept there is a crisis in the Defence Forces.

Vice Admiral Mellett spoke to soldiers, sailors and air corps personnel attending the annual PDFORRA conference in Castlebar. He said, ‘safety is not being compromised by staff shortages or early departures.’

Personnel within the Defence Forces outlined at the conference several issues affecting them, from pay issues to reduced staffing levels. PDFORRA President Mark Keane said sailors are living on ships because of they have nowhere else to live due to high rent rates.

Staff shortages include specific personnel in the Naval Service, such as electricians, engine mechanics, medics and chefs.

Personnel within the Defence Forces are the lowest paid in the public sector. The Chief of Staff has said he has written to the Public Service Pay Commission and would also like to make a verbal submission to them, for better pay for Defence Force personnel.

Vice Admiral Mark Mellett Irish Navy