The innovative Message in a Bottle initiative will be launched this afternoon in Ardara
Following a difficult personal experience of having to call for an ambulance when a young relation was having a severe medical emergency Ardara woman, Mary Whelan reflected on how she had been unable to answer some of the questions the 999 operator was asking.
Even some of the key questions such as Eircode which helps the ambulance find you quicker was not to hand.
Fortunately, on that occasion, everything worked out fine for her young relation.
However, Mary wanted to ensure that people in a similar position did not have the same difficulty and approached her friend Catherine McNelis, a long-standing volunteer with the Ardara Cardiac First Responders, to discuss and consider options.
They proposed a really good and highly visible information sheet and approached a couple of committee members of the Ardara Cardiac First Responders, although on further research it turned out that there was an existing scheme run through the Lions Club in Ireland, called Message in a Bottle and endorsed by the National Ambulance Service.
Mary and Catherine, having had the initial proposal and to ensure others at that critical time when a medical emergency occurs have all essential information to hand to assist the 999 call takers and the paramedics and first responders, have pushed for implementation of the Message in a Bottle Scheme.
Ardara Sheltered Housing Association CLG at St Shanaghan House has purchased the first 100 bottles for residents of the Sheltered Housing, users of the Ardara Care of the Aged Day Centre and the first tranche within the community.
Ardara and Glenties First Responder groups in partnership with the GAP (Glenties, Ardara and Portnoo) Community Health Forum will seek to distribute to people of all ages throughout the wider area.
Catherine has contacted head teachers and child care centres in the area as well as day centres for older people and adults to ensure everyone with an underlying health difficulty is offered a Message in a Bottle.
It is also hoped to utilise the local GPs and Public Health nurses to distribute the bottles to those that need them so that in the case of an emergency, critical information such as precise location, medical conditions, medication and allergies are immediate to hand.
A fantastic initiative borne out of the difficult personal experience and driven by local people for the benefit of others and one which might save lives.
The initiative will be launched this Saturday afternoon at 3pm at St Shanaghan House, Ardara.
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