The Irish Red Cross team this weekend took second place at the annual European First Aid Championship ‘FACE’ 2016 hosted by Slovenia.
The team of six volunteers from the Irish Red Cross Dundalk Branch (Louth) competed against 21 international teams, with Serbia taking first place. Ireland has secured a position in the top three an impressive nine times since 2005 and has also hosted FACE twice.
This year’s competition was described being ‘extremely challenging’ with first aid stations which ranged from a triage exercise with badly injured migrants, to an earthquake, water rescue and a burial ritual (relevant to the Red Cross’ work in situation in emergencies such as the Ebola crisis). All presented ideal opportunities for the competitors to demonstrate their in-depth knowledge of first aid, their ability to work as a team and their understanding of humanity.
FACE 2016 offered a unique opportunity for the Irish Red Cross team to learn from the first aid exercises. Lessons which can be shared with fellow volunteers to enhance future Irish Red Cross in-service training.
Earlier this year, the Irish Red Cross FACE team met President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Mrs Sabina Higgins at a special reception in Áras an Uachtaráin at which the President presented the Perpetual Trophy to the Louth team. Speaking at the reception, President Higgins spoke of the work that Irish Red Cross volunteers undertake "in challenging circumstances" and praised the charity for "developing innovative ways of engaging communities in learning first aid".
The FACE 2016 team comprised of: Aoife Clarke, Siomha Murphy, Paul Nordon, David Nordon, Miriam Watters and Orla Sheridan. Training was provided to the team by Marie Lawless, Geraldine Lawless and Sally McLaughlin.