150 defibrillators given to HSE National Ambulance Service staff who volunteer as Community First Responders when off duty

This week, the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) is delivering 150 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to NAS staff who volunteer as Community First Responders when off duty. These staff will now, for the first time, have an AED immediately to hand when a life-threatening emergency occurs in their communities. 


Robert Morton, NAS Director, thanked NAS staff who volunteer as Community First Responders (CFRs) in their communities when off duty: “This is a great initiative which has been funded by the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy for Ireland. NAS staff who volunteer as CFRs when off duty in their local communities deserve great praise. These new AED kits will be a great asset for them as they will have immediate access to an AED when a cardiac emergency occurs. The AEDs fit into a specially-designed backpack which makes them easily transportable when someone is rushing to the scene of an emergency. They are being delivered to 150 staff around the country.”


Ger O’Dea, NAS National Community Engagement Manager, said: “CFRs have a huge impact on the lives of people every day and we are delighted to be able to deliver these AED kits to our own staff who volunteer as CFRs in their own time. The voluntary scheme involving our staff has been operating for over 15 years now and this is the first time that we are in a position to supply AED kits for use by off-duty staff. These staff play a very important role both on duty and off duty and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. We were delighted to be able to order these kits having received funding from the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy.”


Bridget Clarke, NAS Lead, Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy & Associated Specialist Programmes, said: “The Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy was very pleased to be in a position to provide the funding for this initiative. We have no doubt that it will be of great benefit to local communities and we are all very grateful to the NAS staff members who participate in it. Those who volunteer as CFRs in their communities are making a real difference. We would ask if people are interested in the work of a CFR to come forward and volunteer, there are lots of opportunities in local communities around the country to get involved. Full training and support will be provided.”


How CFR groups work

CFR groups who are linked to the NAS National Emergency Operations Centre are alerted to an emergency in their area and, as they are community based, can provide medical assistance within minutes of a 112/999 call being received. In relation to cardiac arrest where the patient’s heart has stopped pumping blood around the body, the following sequence of events is known as the ‘Chain of Survival’.


  • Early Access (to activate the emergency services);
  • Early Basic Life Support (CPR Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation);
  • Early Defibrillation (an electric shock to restart the heart);
  • Early Advanced Care (paramedic intervention);
  • The more ‘links’ of the chain the patient receives, greatly improves their chance of survival following a cardiac arrest.


For further information on becoming a Community First Responder please visit https://tinyurl.com/5n92v9nz

Last updated on: 16 / 06 / 2022