TWELVE Londonderry taxi-drivers have already been trained in emergency life support and will carry defibrillators around in their cars as part of a new multi-agency initiative to save lives in the city.
John McPoland of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Services (NIAS) said: “Twelve taxi drivers have been trained by the Western Trust Resuscitation training team in Altnagelvin Hospital, in partnership with the Ambulance Service.
“They will be dispatched to specific calls if they are available to attend.”
The ‘Heart of the Foyle’ initiative goes live on Friday (September 20).
It’s supported by North West Taxi Proprietors (NWTP), the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) and the Big Lottery Fund.
Drivers will carry defibrillators in their vehicles and use them where appropriate and necessary.
Gerry Hamill from North West Taxi Proprietors said: “Speaking on behalf of the Heart of Foyle Steering Group, we’re excited to be part of this innovative first responder scheme. Our taxi drivers are based within the community and I believe they are well placed to deliver this critical first response.
“This service is complimentary to the emergency service provided by the ambulance and 999 should always be called in an emergency.”
Any taxi driver working in the Londonderry area interested in becoming a first responder should contact NWTP at 028 7136 2556.