Jump in taskings for Cork-based community air ambulance

Last month alone, the air ambulance responded to 48 taskings.
Jump in taskings for Cork-based community air ambulance

Pictured are Irish Community Air Ambulance CEO Micheál Sheridan and RTÉ Broadcaster John Creedon at the HEMS Air Ambulance base in Rathcool, Co. Cork. Pic: Brian Lougheed

The Irish Community Air Ambulance has responded to the highest number of road traffic collisions in a single month since the organisation first launched.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance was tasked to 15 separate crashes during May.

The increase in crashes has pushed the number of call-outs for the helicopter up by 14 per cent when compared to April.

The charity works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and is tasked to serious and life-threatening emergencies. T

The HEMS Air Ambulance is based in Rathcool, Co Cork with critical care teams on the ground in Dublin, Mayo and Donegal.

In the first five months of 2022, the helicopter responded to 205 incidents.

There were 48 taskings in May alone, up from 42 during April.

The call-outs during May also included six farming or equestrian incidents.

Cork accounted for one in four of the calls followed by Kerry, Tipperary, Clare, Waterford, Wexford, Limerick and Carlow.

In total, 17 people were airlifted to hospitals in Cork and Limerick during May.

The ground teams were tasked to 221 incidents between January and May this year. 

Fundraising drive

It comes at a time when the service is also facing increasing fuel costs, and for this reason, and to support the expansion of its ground-based Volunteer Doctor service, the Irish Community Air Ambulance has launched a major fundraising drive with support from RTÉ presenter John Creedon.

It is encouraging people to host a BBQ or coffee morning during July to raise vital funds for the organisation.

John Creedon joined the team at the base for the first “Brew for the Crew” event of the summer.

John Creedon said, “The Irish Community Air Ambulance has had a huge impact right across the country since the service first launched almost three years ago. However, it’s rural communities in Munster, places that are some distance from the nearest hospital that have benefited most. The figures for May speak for themselves and show that the demand for the service is increasing. Nobody sets out on their day thinking that they will need the services of the air ambulance but we know that life can change in an instant and when trauma strikes, it's vital to know that help is on the way. That’s why this charity service is so important.” 

'A serious crash every second day'

CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said that the summer is the busiest time of the year for the service.

“To be tasked to 15 road traffic collisions in one month is concerning and equates to a serious crash every second day. Our helicopter responded to 40 separate collisions in the first five months of the year which is a significant number. The cost of fuel is also continuing to rise which is why community fundraisers like ‘Brew for the Crew’ are so important. We would not be where we are today without our wonderful supporters. They have ensured that our helicopter has been able to respond to close to 1,500 emergencies since July 2019. We’ve also expanded our ground teams and have volunteer critical care teams on the ground in Counties Mayo, Donegal and Dublin.” 

The Irish Community Air Ambulance is inviting people to host an event of their choosing during the month of July.

Head of Community and Donor Engagement, Lorraine Toner said: “We’re asking people to use their imaginations for ‘Brew for the Crew’. It can be as simple as having a few friends over for a cuppa, hosting a BBQ or even holding a street party. It is really easy to register on our website and we will send you a kit with everything you need. Our crews are on duty every single day of the year and this event is about raising a glass or cup to say thank you as well as raising vital funds for our organisation.”

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