Volunteer Community Responder Teresa Hobbs; Head of Primary Care Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH) Priscilla Lynch; Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Karen Coakley; National Ambulance Service Community Engagement Officer Jonathan Lynch; Sgt Padraig Ó Conchúir and Principal Community Worker Eleanor Moore at the West Cork Islands Community Health Forum on Sherkin Island. Photo: Evie Finlay

Islanders first to complete emergency course

Volunteers in West Cork have become the first in the country to complete a course to provide emergency aid to island residents and visitors during medical emergencies.

The 10 volunteers, who initially trained as first responders in 2022, completed the PHECC Emergency First Responder course on Bere Island in January 2023.

As part of the programme, the 10 responders from across the West Cork islands community attended training with instructors from the National Ambulance Service and the first responder community to learn how to deal with different types of medical situations that may happen across an island landscape.

The enhanced emergency first responder service is set to go live across the islands this month, coinciding with the publication of a new 1 page document for residents and tourists, detailing what do in an emergency while on a West Cork island.

Developed by The West Cork Islands in partnership with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare (CKCH), HSE Cork South Community Work department and the emergency services, the document provides information aimed at resident islanders, holiday home residents, tourists and visitors, and ferry services.

Head of Primary Care for CKCH Priscilla Lynch said: “The newly qualified enhanced community first responders play a critical role if there is an emergency to ensure a safer, faster response - using the combined efforts of Coastguard, RNLI and ambulance. This will save lives and improve island health.”