Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Glinsk becomes Ireland’s fifth HeartSafe community

Glinsk became Ireland’s fifth HeartSafe community recently, as the local community was presented with the Irish Heart Foundation’s HeartSafe award.  The award was presented by Eunice Langley of Defibrillator Access and Resuscitation Association (DARA) to the Chairperson of the Glinsk HeartSafe Committee, Anthony Brennan, at a function in the Glencastle Lounge on Saturday night week.

            Two defibrillators are to be placed at locations within the community, and the group hopes to purchase another four or five defibrillators in coming months. 32 people have been trained in the use of the defibrillators and further people from Glinsk are to be trained in coming months.

            Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Langley praised the local community for achieving the HeartSafe award in just six months, but said that more people will have to be trained to use the defibrillators. “Anyone sitting here who isn’t physically disabled should come and get trained up. No community can have too many people trained.”

            She pointed out that in Ireland 8,200 people die from heart attacks every year, or 24 people every day, without access to defibrillators. Praising the local community, she said that she had her first conversation about making Glinsk a HeartSafe village with Mary Kilcommons on St. Stephen’s Day last year and six months later the award had been achieved.

            Accepting the award, Anthony Brennan said that Glinsk had become the fifth village in Ireland to get the award. He thanked Eunice for taking time to attend the even in Glinsk and also thanked the people who took part in training.

            Frances Lannon of Roscommon Ambulance Service congratulated everybody who took part in the training and noted that four people have since gone on to become instructors. “There is no reason why the rest of the village can’t get trained. The ultimate aim of DARA is to have one person in each household trained.”

            Guests at Saturday night’s function heard that the group came together at the instigation of Brian and Mary Kilcommmons and Stacey Kelly. After several meetings with Roscommon Ambulance Service and Eunice Langley, the first CPR training took place in the local national school and 32 people completed the training, which is valid for two years. Brian and Mary were the parents and Stacey Kelly the fiancée of, Enda Kilcommmons, of Derreen, Glinsk, who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in November 2004.

            The training takes two and a half to three hours. “By having this equipment in the area, we have an opportunity to increase survival rates up to 70 percent,” said Mr. Brennan.

            “It is not a replacement for the ambulance service. In the first instance, you should always ring 999,” said Mr. Brennan. A list of trained people will now be distributed in the region.

            Speaking of the purchase of defibrillators, Mr. Brennan thanked Tomás Dowd and Darragh Connelly, who organised pool competitions and raised significant funds towards the purchase of defibrillators.

            The ultimate aim of the group is to have a defibrillator within four or five minutes of each house in the region. Six or seven defibrillators are needed for the Glinsk area and two have already been purchased. The equipment is alarmed and Mr. Brennan demonstrated the alarm and asked people to watch out and ensure that the defibrillators are not tampered with.

            Concluding, Mr. Brennan thanked everybody who took up the training, all who contributed to the fund, James Shevlin, author of the letter seeking funds, Shane and Bert Curley for printing the tickets, ticket sellers and everybody who supported the night in any way. He paid special tribute to Brian and Mary and Stacey for all their work behind the scenes.

            “To date, we have in excess of €11,000 raised, that has all come from the community, including some very large generous private donations. On behalf of the group, we thank each and every one of you.”

            The next round of training in Glinsk takes place in September.