People in the Creggs and Glinsk areas are taking action on the installation of defibrillators in the local community in a bid to reduce the number of heart deaths in the area. Retired fireman Michael Canavan from Curraghreevagh, Creggs, is currently organising first aid courses in the locality and in the future hopes to install defibrillators at various venues in Glinsk and Creggs. The programme chosen by Michael is the First Responders scheme, a recognised national scheme which aims to get people within the community trained in first aid. Firstly, Michael is seeking volunteers to undertake a first aid course, which will be held in Creggs NS on a Sunday. ‘It’s a basic first aid course, one day, with professional paramedics. It’s validated by Irish Heart Foundation and the more people we get to do the course the better.’ Michael hopes to run a number of such courses in Creggs NS, with 12 people taking part in each class. Later, it is hoped to train up to 12 people who have completed the first aid course as First Responders in the community. Each of these will have to undergo a further four-hour course in Ballinasloe in using defibrillators. ‘The aim is to have First Responders in the area on a 24-hour basis 365 days per year.’ Michael is hoping to get as many people as possible from the parish to do the first aid course. He also plans a public meeting to garner support for the initiative, but no date has been set yet. The first of the first aid courses is scheduled for March 25th in Creggs NS. It will be conducted by North West Safety Training in Boyle and the cost for participants is €33. ‘We are looking for people from the Glinsk and Creggs area, to date we have enough for two classes and are looking for more people to do the course. We are hoping to put defibrillators in Glinsk and Creggs and the specific locations will be looked at later.’ Already, €3,000 has been raised towards the project, through a pool competition during the Harvest Festival in Creggs, organised in memory of Enda Kilcommons from Derreen, Glinsk, who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. ‘16,000 people die each year in Ireland from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. The placing of defibrillators in communities where people are trained in their use would certainly save lives,’ said Michael. To contact Michael and book a place on a first aid course, call (090) 66 21971.