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Kerry 999 call-outs kept air ambulance busy

The community helicopter service was activated 512 times in 2021

KERRY was one of the busiest counties for emergency call-outs received by the life-saving but financially self-funded Irish Community Air Ambulance in 2021, it has emerged.

The helicopter service was activated 512 times and there was a marked increase to emergency responses for cardiac arrests, farm-related incidents and falls from heights throughout the year.

Kerry, Cork and Tipperary were the blackspots with July and April the busiest months of the with 57 missions completed in both months.

The emergencies responded to were:

  • 89 road traffic collisions
  • 64 farming incidents
  • 64 cardiovascular (heart attacks and strokes)
  • 63 general trauma calls
  • 61 general medical calls
  • 48 falls from heights
  • 20 equestrian incidents
Well-known Kerry GAA official Michael O’Mahony (right) from Rathmore who embarked on a series of walks to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance

The Irish Community Air Ambulance, based in Rathcool, Co Cork. was also tasked to Clare, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Mayo, Galway, Offaly, Laois, Wicklow and Kildare during 2021.

Each helicopter mission costs an average of €3,500, all of which has to be raised or donated and the charity-funded service ­has called on the government for financial support as more than €2 million will be needed to run charity service this year.

“The HSE is releasing funding to private ambulance firms to provide support during the continuing crisis yet the Irish Community Air Ambulance is still entirely funded by public donations,” said spokesman Michael Sheridan.

“The increased number of taskings during 2021 show that we provide a vital service. We are so grateful to all our supporters who help us to bring hope to those in emergency situations but we will continue to engage with the government to provide funding during these uncertain times,” he added.

“We cover an area of 25,000 square kilometres and treat some of the most critically ill and injured patients, bringing them to the hospital that is best suited to their life-saving needs, not just the closest hospital geographically,” Mr Sheridan added.

The organisation also funds a fleet of rapid response vehicles staffed by volunteer critical care doctors and also by community-based GPs and they are tasked by the National Ambulance Service to treat trauma and medical emergencies within a 40-50km range.

The fleet of doctors was tasked 809 times in 2021, bringing the total number of missions across the organisation to more than 1,300.

  • For information on how to donate go to https://communityairambulance.ie/