The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA) said today (May 7 th ) that support expressed by the Chief Fire Officers Association at their AGM yesterday (May 6 th ) for the use of fire officers as first responders in cases where an ambulance in not available confirmed that there is now a growing consensus in support of IFESA ' s call for the development of a National fire based emergency medical service (EMS) and the development of a National Fire and Ambulance service in Ireland to respond to medical emergencies.

‘ IFESA Vice President, Ros MacCobb, said that the support for a fire based EMS by the Chief Fire Officers Association comes just weeks after Health Minister, Leo Varadkar expressed similar support for such a service when he told the Seanad that there was a ‘ strong case ‘ for training fire crews to assist with emergency ambulance service responses.

Mr. Mac Cobb said: ‘ IFESA has been the leading advocate for the development of fire based emergency medical services ( EMS) and the coordination of a National Fire & Ambulance service in Ireland to respond to medical emergencies. '

‘ The need for such a service now has never been greater and the logic and benefit of such a service from a lifesaving and economic point of view is now being recognised by senior managers in the fire service and the Minister for Health. '

‘ It is time for the Government to make a fire based EMS a reality and recognise that highly trained Irish   Fire and Rescue Service personnel are essentially “ standing armies ” in their   communities poised to respond to emergencies including medical emergencies. The time has come for decisions makers to act on the deployment of fire fighters to medical emergencies in their communities. '
‘ For example by equipping fire engines with automated defibrillators to reverse sudden cardiac arrest, the fire fighter, coupled with bystander CPR, would become a hugely important life-saving tool .Not only does fire based EMS make sense, it saves time, saves money but more importantly saves lives. '

Media Contacts: Ros Mac Cobb Vice President 0872164533 / John Kidd, President IFESA 087 6588999