Features

IRELAND’S DEFENCE FORCES IN THE FIRING LINE (ISSUE 59)

Alongside declining recruitment is the rising tide of those leaving the Defence Forces and PDFORRA says that 2,840 personnel departed the Defence Forces in the past five years, equivalent to over 30 per cent of the total enlisted personnel.

EMERGENCY AEROMEDICAL SERVICE CONTINUES VITAL MISSION (ISSUE 59)

Responding to critically ill patients across Ireland, the Emergency Aeromedical Service has completed almost 3,000 missions since taking off as a pilot project in 2012. The Air Corps hosted a family day in Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel to meet patients who have benefitted from the service. 

DEFENCE FORCES IN CRISIS, SAYS SECURITY EXPERT (ISSUE 59)

Recent research by University of Limerick has raised concerns over leadership, performance and career management within the Defence Forces. Michael Murphy, security intelligence consultant, says the results can be read as a damning indictment of neglect by the Government and poor internal military leadership.  

WEATHER APP PUTS AUTHORITIES ON HIGH ALERT (ISSUE 59)

An extreme weather alert service for local authorities – MapAlerter – generated 500,000 emergency alerts in the space of just 72 hours, potentially saving countless lives as Hurricane Ophelia ripped through the country in mid-October.

GARDA MEMORIAL REMEMBERS FALLEN HEROES (ISSUE 59)

A special monument to honour two Gardaí (murdered 37 years ago by armed bank robbers near Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon) was unveiled in July. Retired D/Sgt Michael Carty reflects on the bravery and admirable courage shown by Detective Garda John Morley and Garda Henry Byrne on that tragic July day in 1980.

TOP TEN FINISH FOR MEATH AND CARLOW FIRE CREWS (ISSUE 59)

Fire and rescue teams from Meath and Carlow finished in the Top Ten at this year’s World Rescue Challenge in Romania, having competed against 70 teams of firefighters and rescue personnel worldwide in this gruelling international challenge event.

BREATHING LIFE BACK INTO THE RURAL COMMUNITY (ISSUE 59)

A €5,000 charitable donation will allow Newport’s Community First Responders to purchase their first two automated external defibrillators and heated cabinets, thereby enabling the crew to save dozens more lives in the rural community in Tipperary.

NORTHERN IRELAND GETS DOWN TO MULTI-AGENCY TRAINING (ISSUE 59)

A multi-agency training exercise in County Down, which involved RNLI volunteers and lifeguards, the Police Service Northern Ireland, the Ministry of Defence and the Coastguard, is the first of many events planned for the coming year.

RECOGNITION FOR 50 YEARS OF LIFESAVING SERVICE (ISSUE 59)

The Lifesaving Foundation has presented its chair Brendan Donohoe with the Ireland Medal to recognise his 50 years of service as a volunteer lifeguard, a lifesaving teacher, a lifeguard trainer and assessor, a drowning prevention researcher and a national and international administrator.

TRIBUTES TO R116 CREW AND COAST GUARD VOLUNTEER (ISSUE 58)

A four-day cycle to the rescue bases in Dublin, Sligo, Shannon and Waterford is ear-marked for Friday 8 September, to pay tribute to the crew of R116 and Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas, who died in a search operation off Co. Clare in September 2016.

NAVAL SERVICE HONOURED FOR MED MISSIONS (ISSUE 58)

The Irish Naval Service has been awarded the Honorary Freedom of Entry to Dún Laoghaire, and also received the Ireland Medal for 2016 in recognition for its ongoing humanitarian rescue missions in the Mediterranean.  

CLARE TAKE OFF FOR AUTOMATED BEACH PATROLS! (ISSUE 58)

An Irish software start-up has teamed up with Clare County Council to boost life-guarding operations by trialling the use of drone technology, which will be deployed as automated beach patrols for the first time ever in Ireland.

MEATH FIRE CREW GEARS UP FOR CHARITY CYCLE (ISSUE 58)

Eight firefighters from Meath are putting final preparations in place to take part in the ultra-marathon ‘Race Around Ireland’ cycling event in August, in a bid to raise funds for suicide and bereavement counselling service SOSAD (Save Our Sons and Daughters).

LIMERICK SUICIDE WATCH GETS NEW TWO-WAY RADIOS (ISSUE 58)

The recent donation of radio communications equipment to Limerick Suicide Watch will play a critical role in assisting the voluntary suicide prevention group to save lives, as it patrols the five bridges of Limerick city and along the banks of the Shannon waterway.

OPERATION TRACE TRACKS DOWN COLD KILLER (ISSUE 58)

Retired Garda Trevor Laffan from Cork City was one of 98 new Garda recruits tasked with searching for Phyllis Murphy, who went missing from Kildare in late December 1979. He reflects on the case, which was resolved nearly 23 years later thanks to Operation Trace, when her killer was given a mandatory life sentence.

RNLI TEAMS UP WITH GAA FOR LATEST CAMPAIGN (ISSUE 58)

The RNLI has teamed up with the GAA for its latest ‘Respect the Water’ campaign, which is being supported through the GAA's 'healthy clubs' programme. The RNLI campaign is urging people to fight those instincts and not the water, and to remember that floating could save lives from drowning.  

ROUND OF A PAWS FOR AUTISM ASSISTANCE DOGS! (ISSUE 58)

National charity Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI) has welcomed eight new Golden Retriever/Labrador cross puppies, as part of the first breeding programme to tackle the five-year waiting list for children with autism who need a highly-trained assistance dog.

FLEET SOLUTIONS AT UK EMERGENCY SERVICES SHOW (ISSUE 58)

Vehicles and equipment for the emergency services and allied organisations will again be on display at The Emergency Services Show at Birmingham's NEC on 20 and 21 September.

AIR AMBULANCE LIFT-OFF IN MUNSTER (ISSUE 57)

A new community air ambulance service for the Munster region is due for lift-off later this year from its base at Cork Airport. John Kearney, co-founder of Irish Community Air Ambulance, says there’s a “lifetime” of fundraising work ahead, but he’s confident the public will support this lifesaving initiative.

APPROPRIATE DEVICES TO KEEP TRACK OF DEFIBS (ISSUE 57)

An interactive smartphone app now allows the public to take ‘selfies’ alongside automated external defibrillators (AEDs), while a national network has been set up by a group of community first responders, to keep track of the number of these lifesaving devices in operation throughout communities in Ireland.

RANDOM DRUG TESTS TO HIT THE ROAD IN APRIL (ISSUE 57)

New legislation under the Road Traffic Act 2016, which is due to come into force in April, will give the Gardaí the authority to subject motorists to random drug testing checks using a portable device for cannabis, cocaine and heroin. 

‘S-HELP’ IS NOW AT HAND IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS (ISSUE 57)

Following the conclusion of a three-year EU-funded research project to develop new systems to standardise cross-border emergency planning, preparedness, response and recovery procedures, discussions are now taking place with agencies in Ireland, Germany and Israel to test the findings of the S-HELP project.

YOUNG SCIENTISTS STEP UP TO COAST GUARD CHALLENGE (ISSUE 57)

The Irish Coast Guard rolled out a number of emergency challenges in a bid to highlight water safety and increase awareness of their operations to over 60,000 students who turned up at this year’s BT Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS in Dublin in January.

DEFENCE FORCES ARMED WITH NEW E-HEALTH SOLUTION (ISSUE 57)

The Defence Forces has devised a new healthcare system to electronically track and protect the health and wellbeing of all Irish soldiers, sailors and aircrew at home, at sea and on overseas operations.

UK CONSULTATION ON THE SAFE USE OF DRONES (ISSUE 57)

The UK Government plans to introduce new measures on the safe use of drones and strong safeguards to protect the public, which will also consider the need for a new criminal offence for misuse of drones, following a consultation process late last year.

DRONES PLAY KEY ROLE IN IRELAND’S SEARCH & RESCUE (ISSUE 57)

Civil Defence Ireland's recent demonstration to emergency services in West Cork on the use of Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUAs) during missing person searches highlighted the invaluable support that drones can offer to the Gardaí and the Coastguard during such operations.

750 DEFIBRILLATORS NEED ‘URGENT SAFETY UPDATES’

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) claims that up to 750 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Ireland require urgent safety and maintenance updates, such as software upgrades or the replacement of an AED component.

KILDARE CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN HITS THE ROAD

Kildare County Council and the Gardaí have joined forces to focus on social responsibility, designated drivers and pedestrian safety across Kildare as part of the county's Christmas Road Safety Campaign.

HSE IMMUNISATION CAMPAIGN CLAMPS DOWN ON FLU

The HSE’s winter immunisation campaign is alerting healthcare workers, including emergency services personnel that they can prevent the spread of influenza (flu) and save lives every year by getting the flu vaccine themselves.

NETWORKING ON EMS PEER SUPPORT MODEL FOR IRELAND

With a peer support network now successfully in operation in Chicago to help firefighters and other frontline emergency services personnel to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other behavioural health issues, would a similar model work here in Ireland?    

RESCUE APPRECIATION AWARDS FOR IRISH NAVAL SERVICE

Having saved thousands of migrants during the humanitarian missions in the Mediterranean, Irish Naval Service personnel were presented with Rescue Appreciation Awards at Irish Water Safety's 2016 National Annual Awards Ceremony.   

VSO IRELAND SEEKS MORE HEALTHCARE VOLUNTEERS

Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Ireland, which works in 24 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, is looking for more Irish health professionals to play a vital role in helping the organisation to develop health systems in some of the world’s poorest communities.

SIX-YEAR PLAN FOR POLICING IN CORK

The Cork City Joint Policing Committee has launched its first six-year strategy in a bid to enhance relationships between Cork City Council, An Garda Síochána and the local communities.

NEW FIRE STATION OPENS IN SOUTH CONNEMARA

Galway Fire and Rescue Service’s second Irish-speaking brigade – An Cheathrú Rua Fire Brigade – which covers South Connemara, is the first new station in over 15 years, and joins Inis Mór Fire Brigade on the Aran Islands.

CO-ORDINATED STRATEGIES NEEDED TO STRIKE OUT YOUTH FIRESETTING

Youth firesetting should be addressed as a mental health and/or societal issue rather than as a criminal justice-involved matter in the United States, according to a number of counsellors and psychologists, who claim that co-ordinated intervention strategies are urgently needed.

UK LANDOWNERS ARE PREPARED FOR WILDFIRE RISKS

Northumberland's farmers and landowners are now better equipped to deal with wildfire incidents, following a recent information session organised by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, on behalf of Northumberland Fire Group.  

RESEARCH IS KEY TO REFORM WITHIN IRISH PRISON SERVICE

A lack of in-depth sociological research into Ireland’s prison population is restricting the potential for positive reform in the criminal justice system, according to John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy Prison.  

AMBULANCE SERVICE CAPACITY REVIEW IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Unrealistic response targets and a lack of necessary resources, staff and updated work practices are just some of the areas of concern highlighted in a major review of the HSE National Ambulance Service.

IRISH AIR CORPS ON FIRST TRAINING MISSION TO MALTA

The Irish Air Corps’ first international deployment earlier this year provided aviation training to the Maltese military aviation unit. Here team leader Lt Col David Corcoran outlines how each member brought individual skillsets to the mission, including hoist operations, fast roping, search and rescue, and external load operations.

BIM AWARENESS CAMPAIGN NETS MARINE SAFETY AWARD

BIM netted the Excellence in Marine Safety Award for its ‘Live to Tell the Tale’ advertising and PR campaign at this year’s Marine Industry Awards. The campaign reeled in an increase of over 23% of fishermen to BIM’s Enhanced Safety Training in late January/February 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.  

SEARCH IS NOW ON FOR IRELAND’S HIDDEN HEROES

With nominations now open until 5 August, family members, friends and co-workers across Ireland still have time to nominate their Hidden Heroes for 2016, which will be announced at a national awards ceremony in Dublin on 5 September.

RNLI’S NATIONAL DROWNING PREVENTION CAMPAIGN HITS THE WATER

The RNLI’s annual national drowning prevention campaign – Respect the Water – which runs throughout the summer months, aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning when people are near the coastline.

DRONE ZONE TO TAKE OFF AT EMERGENCY SERVICES SHOW

UK emergency services will collaborate to help people live safely in their homes in a new show – Home Safety 2016 – which runs alongside The Emergency Services Show on 21-22 September in Birmingham, while a new Drone Zone will also feature at the NEC.

OLYMPIC EFFORT NEEDED TO BEAT ZIKA VIRUS AT THE GAMES

The Zika virus, which is currently spreading throughout much of South and Central America, can have “catastrophic” effects on unborn babies according to Dr Paul McKeown, Public Health Specialist in the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre. As a result, pregnant women are being strongly advised not to travel to Rio this summer for the Olympic Games.

AED REGISTRATION – TIME FOR A NATIONAL CHECK-UP!

The National Community First Responder Network - CFR Ireland - aims to set up a nationwide register for Automated External Defibs (AEDs), and is calling on all voluntary and CFR groups to help in locating all such defibrillators. 

CONFERENCE TO REVIEW COMPLEX CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS

Fatal house and apartment fires could happen at any time in any part of the country due to poor construction standards and hardly any enforcement of building regulations, according to a leading fire expert who is organising an international sustainable fire engineering conference in Dublin in September.

IRISH NAVY CONTINUES HUMANITARIAN MISSIONS IN THE MED

LÉ Róisín has become the latest Irish naval vessel to assist the Italian authorities in the search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean. To date over 8,590 migrants have been successfully rescued during the course of the Irish navy’s first three humanitarian missions, involving the LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett.

BRUSSELS BOMBING – AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN

In light of the Brussels suicide bombings at the airport and on the city’s metro system in March, a former Irish army general told a recent cross-border emergency management conference that the attacks on the airport, in particular, were “an accident waiting to happen”

BAD WEEK FOR POLICEMEN IN IRELAND

Easter Week 1916 was a disastrous period for policemen in Ireland, according to Donal O’Sullivan. In this year’s commemoration ceremonies, the retired chief superintendent from Kerry says that very few tributes are likely to be paid to the members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the Royal Irish Constabulary who lost their lives during that week.

REBEL COMMISSIONER – MICHAEL STAINES

Ireland’s first Garda Commissioner, Michael Staines, played a key role in the Irish Volunteers from their foundation until the 1916 Easter Rising, during which time he was the Quartermaster-General in the GPO that fateful week. He was detained in Frongach Camp in Wales in the aftermath of the Rising. 

EU VIRTUAL WILDFIRE TRAINING FOR INCIDENT COMMANDERS

Fire and rescue services across Europe have started work on a two-year project to develop simulation training for incident commanders to improve their command and co-ordination of wildfire incidents.

M-VAC SYSTEM IMPROVES DNA RECOVERY AT THE CRIME SCENE

A new tool from the USA now enables the improved recovery of DNA from difficult surfaces and materials in both quality and quantity. The M-VAC System is now being deployed by a number of police services in the States to aid in crime scene investigations.

YOUTH-SET FIRES IN US JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM

Criminal justice and forensic professionals have a key role to play in identifying and addressing the problem of youth firesetting by helping children to receive the help and treatment needed, within the context of the US juvenile justice system.  

EMERGENCY SERVICES SHOW 2016 TO FOCUS ON HOME SAFETY

‘Home Safety 2016’ will run as a new show within this year’s Emergency Services Show on 21-22 September in Birmingham, which will feature collaborative approaches to help people live safely at home and a showcase of the latest specialist equipment for the safe home.  

SUICIDE AWARENESS TRAINING FOR PARAMEDIC STUDENTS

The HSE National Ambulance Service College has moved to formalise its suicide awareness training for paramedic students, to fully equip and train these first responders to deal with cases of attempted suicide.

 

TRAUMA TRAINING FOR MEDICS ON THE BATTLEFIELD

Irish Defence Forces medics recently teamed up with their UK counterparts for an intensive trauma life support training programme to cover all phases of care on the battlefield. The aim now is to roll it out on annual basis.

IRELAND CELEBRATES 60 YEARS OF UN SERVICE

The contribution made by Gardaí and Defence Forces personnel to the United Nations since Ireland first became a member in 1955 is on display at the ‘UN60’ exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - part of a series of events to mark the 60th anniversary of Ireland’s UN membership.

 

NEW APP TAPS INTO TELEMEDICINE IN IRELAND

Patients can now consult their local doctor using a smartphone, thanks to the services of a new app that brings telemedicine to every GP surgery in Ireland. The ‘MeeDoc’ app is offering consultations for 30 per cent less than the average cost of a GP visit.

 

WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY!

From the frontlines, Will Holden has seen first-hand the human impact of war. Having spent 20 years working in logistics for private sector companies, the Dubliner has now turned his attention to applying his skills in a humanitarian setting in some of the world’s most war-torn regions.

 

COASTAL PATROLS PLAY QUAY ROLE IN SUICIDE PREVENTION

Wexford MarineWatch continues to maintain its record of ZERO deaths by suicide in Wexford Harbour since the voluntary group was established in 2012.

DOORS OPEN TO NEW MEDICAL ACADEMY IN MAYO

The Mayo Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Mayo University Hospital, has opened its doors to integrate medical education with clinical training for medical doctors.

CORK WOMAN CAMPAIGNS TO ‘ASIST’ EMS PERSONNEL

On 6 July 2012 Elber Twomey lost her family when a suicidal driver crashed into her car while holidaying in England. Now three years later the Cork woman is campaigning for suicide awareness training for firefighters and ambulance personnel.

40 YEARS AT FRONTLINE OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS

Forensic Science Ireland has played a pivotal role in the support of Irish justice over the past four decades. It is now widely anticipated that a new State forensic laboratory will be built on a site near Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

POLICING IRELAND FROM THE AIR

The Garda Air Support Unit (GASU) is as good as any in the world and is on a par with the best of them in respect of personnel, training, aircraft and equipment, and maintains an ever-closer working relationship with police forces worldwide.  

PLANNING IS KEY TO PREVENTING A CYBER BREACH

A cyber-breach is a major crisis situation for any business or organisation. While the threat cannot be eliminated it’s important to put proper plans in place to respond to the breach, a panel of US cyber-security experts warned business leaders during a recent seminar in Dublin.   

SAFETRX APP AIDS SEARCH AND RECOVERY OPERATION

The latest version of the vessel tracking application – SafeTrx – recently involved in the co-ordination of events offshore during Ireland’s largest underwater search and recovery operation in Cork, will be rolled out later this summer to improve safety at sea for boat users.  

LIMERICK ROLLS OUT NEW FIRESWIFT RIVER RESCUE BOAT

The fastest emergency response on the River Shannon can now be launched within three minutes of an emergency call out, thanks to a new custom-made power boat. FIRESWIFT will be used by Limerick Fire and Rescue Service.   

LOCATEME112 TAPS INTO NEW LIFESAVING TECHNOLOGY

A lifesaving app, developed by an Air Corps pilot to enhance air ambulance operations, has been co-ordinated by the National Aeromedical Co-ordination Centre. LocateMe112 is available to the HSE, Gardaí, Coast Guard and other emergency service providers.