Donegal North East TD, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has called on the Minister for Health, James Reilly to avail of the services of fire fighters trained as Emergency First Responders as a backup to the Ambulance Service in instances when the ambulance on call cannot respond to an emergency within an acceptable time frame.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:“I have received representations from trained fire fighters in Donegal, outlining their frustration at reports of cutbacks to the Ambulance Service and incidents in the county where in one case, a family member had to drive their loved one to hospital due to the slow response time and on another occasion, where a garda had to drive an ambulance to the hospital due to staffing shortages.
“They are making a common sense proposal. There are 17 fire stations across the county and on the islands with dedicated crews on standby 24-7. Each station has a number of dedicated Emergency First Responders who have advanced life saving skills that are deployed at road traffic collisions and fires. They are potential back up for the Ambulance Service.”
“I am calling on the Minister to issue new guidelines that when an emergency call is received, that if the call centre establishes any concern that the nearest ambulance is not in a position to respond they then call out the nearest fire unit as a backup to provide emergency assistance until the ambulance arrives.”