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A critical charity is rolling out a fleet of emergency vehicles to respond to accidents

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

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

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

“Every minute counts when someone experiences trauma or suddenly becomes seriously ill,” says Dr. Campbell.

“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 high-quality defibrillators that can be used in confined spaces and allow us to monitor or shock a patient up to ten meters away.

“Cardiac arrests, chest pain and strokes are very common complaints for us, just like traffic accidents. However, since last year I have witnessed several trauma cases, falls from heights, agricultural incidents and even dog attacks.

“It is important to me to be able to give back to my local community in Dunmore East, the city of Waterford and the surrounding areas. Volunteering at Critical allows me to do that and it gives me great satisfaction.”

Critical’s emergency medical response team, which was established in 2009 as Irish Community Rapid Response before rebranding itself last year, has responded 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 with over 1,500 serious incidents and emergencies, including cardiac arrests, road traffic accidents, farm accidents and other serious medical emergencies and trauma.

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

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

“The new vehicles we have chosen are designed to the highest standard and offer our emergency responders extra safety. The rear trunk is completely customized to accommodate all the medical equipment that may be needed, while keeping everything under control so it’s ready at a moment’s notice.

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

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

The operating costs of Dr. Campbell’s emergency vehicle is 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.