The Killarney Cardiac Response Unit is a voluntary Unit that responds to 999/112 emergency cardiac phone calls in Killarney Town and surrounding areas.

Composed of approximately 40 volunteers as of 2020, the responders are activated the moment a cardiac call is made to ambulance control and are there to complement the ambulance service during those important vital minutes until the National Ambulance Service arrives.

The work that the Killarney Cardiac Response Unit do is instrumental as cardiac arrests that happen outside of a hospital have the lowest survivability rates due mostly to the fact that resuscitation is often delayed or not carried out. As of December 2019, they have responded to over 700 emergency calls.

Additionally, they run regular events that raise awareness about cardiac arrest and what to do should someone be in distress. This involves CPR training days, patient assessment classes and equipment familiarisation.

Here at Goldfish, we’re very proud to support the Killarney Cardiac Response Unit and the crucial work that they do. We spoke to Kevin O’ Leary, Scheme Co-Ordinator at Killarney Cardiac Response Unit.

What’s your charity’s background and how did Killarney Cardiac Response Unit come to be? 

Killarney Cardiac Response Unit was established in early 2015 as a result of a number of high-profile cardiac arrest fatalities and effective resuscitations within the town.

Following the success stories from other groups that had been established throughout the country, it was hoped that by forming a CFR scheme in Killarney that increased cardiac arrest survival would be achieved and in addition provide support for the National Ambulance Service whilst dealing with high priority life-threatening calls.

An initial meeting was convened with a strong attendance, a working group was established and training/fundraising was commenced.

The group went live in August 2015 and began responding to emergency calls with a team of approximately 30 volunteers.

What problems were you trying to solve, telecoms-wise, and how was it affecting you?

With communications, we relied on calls relating to public access AED enquiries, general enquiries and recruitment being taken on personal phones or through contacting our emergency controller.

This lack of structure was problematic as information was often missed, directed to the wrong person and was confusing for both the public and members.

It was also concerning that our emergency controller was responsible for dealing with many of the enquiries when the focus for them should be on emergency dispatching of our responders.

Lack of a phone line to our HQ was also at times an issue.

What solutions did you consider before choosing

Prior to choosing we considered having a fixed-line installed at our HQ. But the cost involved quickly ruled this out.

We also considered introducing additional mobile phones for our secretary and coordinator in addition to our recruitment phone.

However, the cost was again a barrier to this and for volunteers to be expected to carry a 2nd phone would be impractical and frustrating.

What measurable benefits have you seen?

Since introducing the new system, we have reduced our mobile phone contracts. This was achieved through the use of Goldfish’s Call Director where our control/recruitment /HQ and general enquiries can be directed to the correct person on their own personal phone without any GDPR concerns.

By utilizing this system, we have reduced our costs, improved efficiency and enhanced our public image.

A reliable system is essential and so far all is operating beyond our expectations.