HELPING HAND: Brooke O’Connor and Sean O’Grady (centre) with Killarney Cardiac Response Unit members Kevin Griffin, Anne O’Connor, Leo O’Connor and Ann Elizabeth Rohan at the free CPR and AED awareness event at The Market Cross Killarney recently. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

By Sean Moriarty

The people behind the Killarney Cardiac Response Unit are hopeful they can run the biggest promotional campaign of its kind in the country in an effort to raise awareness of its services and attract new volunteers.

Killarney CRU are planning a recruitment drive to find volunteer telephone response controllers and dispatchers in the town ahead of a bigger volunteer drive in September, as well as a dedicated schools’ awareness programme at the same time.

Kicking off the group’s summer promotional campaign, a street demonstration was staged outside the Laurel’s Pub on Main Street recently, where volunteers showcased their skills as First Responders in heart attack or stroke emergency situations.

“There were a lot of people on the streets and the event offered high exposure for what we do,” Kevin O’Leary, CRU Scheme Coordinator, said. “We were delighted with the turnout and it provided massive exposure for where automated external defibrillators are located and the CPR services we offer.”

Killarney CRU, in association with The Heart of Killarney, have between them placed 15 public-accessible defibrillators on the streets of Killarney and in other public locations on the outskirts of town.

The latter group is responsible, amongst other things, for the landmark traditional-style phone box defibrillator on Main Street.

Killarney CRU is a voluntary group of approximately 40 volunteers, from all sectors of society, who respond to 999/112 emergency cardiac phone calls.

They are activated once a cardiac call is made to ambulance control and cover an area of 6km from the centre of Killarney Town. The Responders have a pager/radio on them which is linked in with a control phone through the National Ambulance Service.