Critical charity rolls out fleet of emergency response cars to respond to accidents

An emergency response charity – Critical – has launched a new fleet of rapid response cars as it aims to expand its life-saving network of medical volunteers.

Critical currently has a team of ten doctors, including consultants in emergency medicine, who respond to serious and life-threatening incidents and illnesses in their local areas.

The clinicians are based in counties Waterford, Wicklow, Kerry, Mayo, Donegal and Dublin. Among them is Dr Paul Campbell, a GP and occupational health physician based in Dunmore East, Co Waterford. He joined the charity in 2023.

“Every minute counts when someone suffers a trauma or suddenly falls seriously ill,” Dr Campbell said.

“The new cars are very impressive; our medical equipment is now easier to find and there is no risk of batteries failing. We now have top-of-the-range defibrillators that can be used in confined spaces and allow us to monitor or shock a patient from up to ten metres away.

“Cardiac arrests, chest pain and strokes are very common calls for us as are road traffic collisions. However, since last year I’ve been able to attend multiple trauma cases, falls from heights, farming incidents and even dog attacks.

“It is important for me to be able to give back to my local community in Dunmore East, Waterford city and surrounding areas. Volunteering with Critical allows me to do that and is very rewarding.”

Established in 2009 as Irish Community Rapid Response before renaming itself last year, Critical’s team of emergency medical responders have reacted to more than 1,800 calls in the past three years.

In 2019 the charity launched Ireland’s first and only charity air ambulance.

Over a 36-month period it was tasked to more than 1,500 serious incidents and emergencies including cardiac arrests, road traffic accidents, farm accidents and other serious medical emergencies and traumas.

Critical is now focusing on plans to expand its network of volunteer emergency medical responders and critical community first responders across Ireland.

“Our responders are providing a valuable service and we need to ensure that they are able to arrive at the scene of an incident quickly and safely,” said Critical CEO David Tighe.

“The new vehicles that we have chosen have been designed to the highest standard and give additional security to our responders. The rear boot has been fully customised to hold all the medical equipment that may be required, while keeping everything on charge, so it’s ready at a moment’s notice.

“It is thanks to donations from members of the public, corporate donations and community fundraisers that we are able to upgrade our vehicles and equipment so that our doctors and responders from Waterford and across the country are able to make a difference when it matters most.”

The four-wheel drive Skoda Kodiaqs were chosen as Critical’s new rapid response cars for their road safety and security and have been customised with ambulance style livery and class 1 emergency lighting.

The running costs of Dr Campbell’s emergency vehicle are being sponsored by the local Centra store in Dunmore East, in memory of local woman Susan O’Donoghue who was assisted by the service last August.

For more information about Critical or to make a donation visit www.criticalcharity.ie.

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