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Killaloe Fire and Rescue Service was tasked on a call to provide assistance to an injured person on the trail up to Moylussa recently and found the access road partially blocked.

Fire officer’s appeal as careless parking hampers rescue effort

MOTORISTS have been urged to avoid parking on narrow access roads to amenities in the Killaloe area after the local fire service encountered difficulties during a recent rescue.

Killaloe Fire and Rescue Service was tasked on a call to provide assistance to an injured person on the trail up to Moylussa recently.

There have been occasions when firemen would be requested to bring a casualty out of the woods into the ambulance. In this case, the casualty was near the road on the way up to the mountain.

Due to careless parking, firemen were not able to use their fire engine and had to instead use their fire truck. The ambulance was just about able to squeeze through with very little to spare.
Killaloe Station Officer, Graham Tuohy recalled the difficulties local firemen encountered.

“It wasn’t ideal. It was the upper car park where we encountered the difficulty. As luck would have it the van went up first and they were able to radio back and tell us the fire truck would not be able to pass.

“Thankfully, this avoided us driving up a lot of the way and then having to go back. If it was a different type of call, we might have needed the fire truck.

“I would like people to keep the emergency services in mind when they are parking on this access road. I think this is part of personal responsibility for all road users.

“Since Covid-19, ancedotally, walking and hiking to Moylussa has become very popular, which is something we would encourage. We would support the increase in outdoor activities.

“With increased numbers, that will increase the risk of a trip or a fall for people who may need assistance,” he noted.

Killaloe Fire and Rescue Service provided back up support for two charity events in Moylussa over the past 12 months – the Charlie Bird climb and a similar one for the Irish Kidney Association.

Firemen are trained as emergency first responders. The Killaloe Station has two new recruits who will receive this specialised training in the coming months.

Existing firemen completed refresher first responder training on Monday and Tuesday.

Mr Tuohy said firemen have been trained to deal with low-scale medical emergencies.

Occasionally, the station gets tasked to provide help in a medical support call where ambulance crew may need help accessing a casualty.

Last year, firemen brought down a casualty three flights of stairs in a Killaloe multi-storey building where there was no lift.

The Killaloe Unit is now at full capacity with nine members, the last two recruits being hired in May 2021 following a recruitment pause during Covid-19.

Mr Tuohy was acting station officer in January 2021 before he took up this role permanently in May 2021, following in the footsteps of his father, Joe, who spent 24 years in the local fire brigade service.

His uncle, Martin was the station master in Scariff Fire Station where he gave 29 years of public service.

“It is in the family, I love it. My only regret is I didn’t overlap with my father during our careers. He left the fire brigade in 2015 and I started in 2016.

“I understood fully what I was going into in the fire service because growing up when my father was on call if plans were made they would have to work around the fire service.

“With good communication, firemen can get time off and enjoy their down time. I encourage the crew to avail of their time off because you can’t keep pouring into an empty cup.

“We got a thank you card from a call we attended recently. When you get cards like this, it shows people do appreciate what we do. Sometimes you can lose sight of that.

“The fire service is a vital service. It is only when people are at their most dire need it becomes obvious why it is needed. The more activity in an area the bigger the possible risk of an incident,” he said.

While the primary role of the Killaloe Fire Service is to serve places like Killaloe, Ballina, Ogonnelloe and O’Briensbridge, it also provides back-up for Scariff, Nenagh, Newport and Limerick.

Last year, Killaloe Fire Service had 86 calls and in recent years has gotten on average 80 to 100 calls. Killaloe crew members enjoy getting calls to keep up their skills.

“The Killaloe Fire Station was refurbished in 2008. It is in good nick and we are well supported in that regard. We did some painting in the station and were also supported with this initiative.

The crew keep the station in good working order.

“A newer fire engine is on the way in the next few weeks that was sourced in the United Kingdom. The existing water tender will probably become a training appliance in Ennis. We do advanced driving training to drive under blue lights. There is more risk assessment involved in it.

“We are well equipped in the Clare Fire and Rescue Service. Having proper equipment is very important and gives you a sense of pride.

“It is rare we are held up on Killaloe Bridge as other traffic usually gives way. Our interaction with the public is good and I think the fire service is held in high esteem in the general population,” he said.

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