Published on September 30th, 2018 | by Mark Dwyer


Irish Community Air Ambulance takes Delivery of Helicopter

Ireland’s first community air ambulance has arrived in Kerry and is expected to enter service in October. The helicopter will be operated by Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR), a Charity Air Ambulance service similar to models currently operating in the UK. The service will cost approximately €2 million per year to operate and will be funded through public and corporate donations.

The Agusta (now Leonardo Helicopters) AW109E Power was delivered by Sloane Helicopters who have been providing Air Ambulance support for over 19 years. It was flown from Sywell Aerodrome via Cardiff Heliport to Kerry Airport on 21st September. The helicopter will initially be used for crew familiarisation in advance of full-time daylight hours’ operation in the coming weeks. It will be based at Rathcoole Aerodrome and will bring the population of a 25,000 sq km area within a “20 minute” reach of critical medical care.

The Air Ambulance is expected to respond up to 500 calls per year. It will be tasked through the National Ambulance Service 999 / 112 call system and is supported by the HSE and Department of Health. Although based in Co. Cork it will be available for missions nationwide and will be coordinated with the existing Athlone based Emergency Aeromedical Service operated by the Irish Air Corps.

ICRR CEO John Kearney said lives will be saved and families’ grief spared, and he called for strong public support in order to maintain and develop it. “Since 2008, ICRR has developed a network of over 200 land based volunteer doctors throughout Ireland who deliver critical medical interventions which prevent serious injury or death. We have ten Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) successfully in operation. “We are now taking to the air and will mirror successful international models. The air service will include medical crew on board and rapid transport to a critical care facility. “It is hoped that €2million can be raised per annum. The helicopter fuel costs €350 per hour, or roughly €5 per minute. For the next month we will be spreading the word about ICRR’s Fuel For Life Campaign and will be doing a tour of communities. We would greatly appreciate all the support we can get,” John Kearney said.

Wales, a country of similar size and population, has a well-established fleet of four community Air Ambulances which respond to approximately 2,000 incidents a year. Examples of incidents which the Air Ambulance is expected to respond to include:

  • Retrieval & Transfer: The airlift of a seriously ill patient from remote and rural medical hubs or accident scenes to specialist hospital care.
  • Trauma: Injuries sustained in road traffic accidents, equestrian, agricultural, industrial and sporting incidents, falls and impact injuries.
  • Medical: Including cardiac medical events, strokes, anaphylaxis, etc.

Posted by Irish Community Rapid Response on Friday, 21 September 2018

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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