At the march 14th committee meeting, Cathy McDonogh and Caroline Thomas spent a large chunk of their evening explaining how the Ratoath Cardiac First Responder Group works. They also suffered through our many questions and imparted a lot of useful information for which we are very grateful.
Among the important things learned are these:
We got a better handle on the amount of money required to get this going. There is no money available from the HSE so the cost of all equipment, including the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) must be raised by the group. Along with the cost of training them, each responder will need a hi-visibility jacket marked with ACFR markings.
RCFR responds in pairs! The NAS (National Ambulance Service) dispatches the organization by phoning an issued mobile phone that the “lead” responder has along with the bag and AED. This lead responder then phones their partner responder and both of them proceed independently to the location. It is left up to each responder whether to enter the location alone if they arrive first or wait for their partner to arrive.
There are two separate aspects to the training for responders. One is the required CPR and AED class; the second is a detailed understanding of the policies and procedures. The policies include exactly what ACFR allows and expects responders to do while attending and incident. The procedures cover, how to go about the activities that allow the organization to function, for example: scheduling shifts; checking equipment – the bag and AED; disposing of waste; etc. RCFR covers all of this in a 2-day training course that each responder must attend annually. RCFR have kindly volunteered to allow our trainers to attend and assist with the next round of their training classes. This will give our people valuable real-world experience before training up our own responders.
The following are either ongoing or due to be completed by the next committee meeting on March 28th:
- Get this web site online!
- Organize a general meeting to explain the progress made so far and demonstrate to potential members what is involved in being a CFR
- Collect Garda vetting applications (and fees) from all committee members and get the vetting process kicked off
- Set up to gather everyone’s contact information; current certification level; and expiry date in a single database
- Finalize the ACFR Constitution ready for adoption by the committee
- Produce a draft policy and procedures document for review by the committee
The next committee meeting is scheduled for March 28th.