A Newry, Mourne and Down District Councillor who rescued a young woman from a car crash last summer has hosted a first responders event to encourage more life saving volunteers.
Slieve Croob rep, Alan Lewis (DUP) has pointed to his own personal experience at a potentially fatal road traffic accident in his constituency.
Councillor Lewis was able to take action to help a woman driver when her car crashed on the Dundrum Road last June.
The local councillor spoke to the local democracy service on the need for community first responders after leaving the scene of another car accident this week.
He said: “There is a great need for increased awareness in the community of how to perform first aid safely and calmly in an emergency situation.
“I just happened to come from the scene of another accident this morning (Nov 18) and thankfully no one was injured.
“At the moment there are 22 first responders in the Slieve Croob area equipped with life-saving kits, but there is a greater need for more people to become volunteers, especially in rural areas such as this when ambulance and hospitals can be far away.
“We can all give our support to the first responder volunteers regardless of our political outlook.
“The first responders, who are trained by the NI Ambulance Service do not attend road traffic scenes at this time, though I hope that this can change soon.
“I know in my own experience of helping that lady from the car in June, that I had a heightened awareness of the need to help her, being an active supporter of the first responders scheme myself.
“I would also say that there are many clubs and groups buying defibrillators, but I would just like to remind of the need to have the life-saving equipment registered with the NI Ambulance Service, so that they know where they are in time of emergency.”
Founder of the Slieve Croob Community First Responders, Loretta Gribben established the local life-saving group following the death of her husband James.
She said: “Living in the rural, but beautiful area that makes up Slieve Croob has always been fraught with an underlying awareness regarding limited access to emergency services in the face of medical emergencies.
“Response times from paramedic first responders and the Northern Ambulance Service (NIAS)is challenging due to the remoteness and rurality of the area we live in.
“We hope as many people as possible can become volunteers with the Slieve Croob Community First Responders and of course they will all be very welcome.”