Ireland's first community air ambulance helicopter to propel to Limerick emergencies

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Ireland's first community air ambulance helicopter to propel to Limerick emergencies

LIMERICK people in distress and involved in emergencies will benefit from a new community-funded air ambulance service launched announced this week. 

Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) has signed a contract with a UK helicopter provider in its bid to secure Ireland’s first ever community air ambulance. 

The concept is similar to emergency responders on the ground, as pilots and paramedics will propel their way to emergencies to Munster and south Leinster. 

The slick, yellow helicopter, provided by Sloane Helicopters, will land in Ireland at the end of July and will start its service at the beginning of August. 

It is hoped that €2m can be raised every year to fund the service. 

The service will include medical crew who can provide life-saving treatment to those who are seriously ill or injured, along with rapid transport to a critical care facility. 

It will be based at Cork Airport, and will serve a 10,000 square mile area and within 20 minutes of critical care. 

The Air Ambulance is a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) which will be tasked through the 999 / 112 call system operated by the National Ambulance Service at its National Emergency Operations Centre and is being supported by the HSE and Department of Health.

Medical care and swift transport within the ‘Golden Hour’ – the time in which medical interventions have the greatest impact on saving the life of someone critically ill or injured – greatly increases the chance of survival.

ICRR CEO John Kearney said that this development will see ICRR’s successful land service take to the air.

“Since 2008, ICRR has developed a network of over 200 volunteer doctors throughout Ireland who can be called on to deliver critical medical interventions which prevent serious injury or death.

“We have ten Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) in operation to deliver a ‘land’ emergency service. The land service is also tasked through the 999 / 112 call system.

“ICRR is now taking to the air. The Air Ambulance service will mirror successful models across the UK and continental Europe where geographically challenging terrain warrants an air response.”

Mr Kearney said that it will complement existing emergency services, including the Emergency Aeromedical Service in Athlone, run by the National Ambulance Service and Irish Air Corps.