Hands for life

By Mary Dennehy

KILNAMANAGH is in safe hands after 90 residents attended a free, community CPR training day last weekend, and also learned how to use a defibrillator.

Organised by the Kilnamanagh Community First Responders (CFR), the training was provided in collaboration with the Irish Heart Foundation, which runs the Hands for Life programme.

Killnamanagh CPR05 compressor

Declan and Valerie Doherty, Mary Gaynor and Jennifer Fogarty Killnamanagh Cardic First Reponders Group

The programme delivers training in hands-on CPR and also covers the use of a defibrillator and how to treat someone who is choking.

The Kilnamanagh CFR was established three years ago and, within that time, three defibrillators, fundraised for by the community, have been installed within the area.

According to Valerie Doherty, one of the Kilnamanagh CFR founders: “Having the defibrillators in the community is great, but often people are afraid to use them for fear of doing something wrong.

“This is why we decided to link up with the Irish Heart Foundation, which run a fantastic Hands for Life programme in the teaching of hands-on CPR.

“They also covered the use of the defibrillator and how to treat someone who is choking.

“We had 90 people in total turn up on the day and the training was provided free of charge.

Killnamanagh CPR01 compressor

90 residents attend free CPR training day

“We had a wide range of age groups and it was a hands on session.

“The response from the group was great and we would hope that people are more confident in providing CPR and also in the use of the defibrillators.”

Valerie said that the training day in the Kilnamanagh Community Centre also provided an opportunity to raise awareness of where the defibrillators are located within the estate.

Currently there are three defibrillators located at the Kilnamanagh Community Centre, St Kevin’s Church and Parkhill.

The First Responders Group is now aiming to fundraise for a fourth defibrillator for the Redwood area.

“As with everything we depend on fundraising and donations to maintain this equipment”, Valerie said.

“We have a fantastic community in Kilnamanagh and with the generous fundraising and sponsorship from the local community, we have managed to put our third defibrillator into the area.

Killnamanagh CPR03 compressor

People who took part in the CPR training

“We would also welcome any volunteers that would like to become involved whether it be to help with fundraising or to become a first responder – and remember you don’t have to be medically qualified.

“We cannot stress how important it is to learn this simple skill and familiarise yourself with the use of the defibrillators.

“Hopefully you will never need to use them, but you could save a life by doing so.”

When a 999 call is made from Kilnamanagh the emergency operator now informs the person calling of the location of defibrillators in the area - which can be used as an ambulance makes its way to the scene.

However, the hope is that once enough First Responder volunteers come on board that, after being alerted by an emergency operator, a Kilnamanagh first responder will attend the scene with the defibrillator.

To volunteer as a Kilnamanagh first responder, donate, fundraise or take part in up-and-coming community training days visit the Kilnamanagh CFR Group Facebook page.

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