Emergency services are delivering various demonstrations and safety talks to primary school students across the Midland Region, as part of the ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ winter campaign.
Personnel from the National Ambulance Service, Offaly Fire & Rescue Service, Gardaí and the Department of Trauma & Orthopedics at the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore, attended the launch on Friday last at Scoil Sheosaimh Naofa in Ballinagar, just outside Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
Deputy Garda Commissioner Ann Marie McMahon, LS/OY Chief Superintendent John Scanlan, International Rose of Tralee Rachel Duffy and an RSA ‘Seatbelt Sherriff’ also attended the launch.
The safety awareness campaign is being led by Tullamore & District Rotary Club and the Department of Trauma & Orthopaedics in Tullamore. It is expected up to 40,000 students and teenagers across the midlands will benefit from the safety promotion.
Martina Bannon, Ambulance Officer, promoted the importance of being safe and seen as pedestrians and outlined some of the difficulties a driver may face if they are unable be see a pedestrian on the road.
Speaking about pedestrian visibility on the roads, Orthopaedic Consultant Dorothy Niall stated: “I cannot overstate the dangers of not wearing high-viz clothing. The dark mornings and evenings are here for the winter, and unless pedestrians, joggers and cyclists are wearing high viz jackets that shine brightly, they will simply not be seen”.
Adding her voice and support to the ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ campaign, Rose of Tralee Rachel Duffy said, “With so many thousands of schoolchildren travelling to and from our schools, it is important to educate children and by extension their parents/guardians as to the continuous message of all aspects of road safety.”
Cora Brady, Midlands based Paramedic Supervisor at the National Ambulance Service (NAS) provided demonstrations on First Aid and CPR to students while firefighters from Offaly Fire & Rescue Service talked about road traffic incidents and promoted seatbelt use and fire safety to the groups.
The use of e-scooters was high on the agenda as part of the awareness day. Gardaí highlighted the hazards and dangers around the misuse of scooters and e-scooters and encouraged students on the safe use of cycling and scooting.
Deputy Commissioner McMahon said: “Gardaí have seen increased usage of e-scooters, especially in towns and urban areas. Gardaí have attended collisions involving e-scooters where serious injuries have been sustained. Regrettably there has been one fatality and 24 serious injury collisions involving e-scooters to date in 2022”.
“Given the speed and impact of these vehicles, they are not a suitable mode of transport for young teenagers or children. I would also like to remind anyone considering buying an e-scooter that it is an offence to supply a mechanically propelled vehicle to a person under 16 years of age for use in a public place,” added DC McMahon.
Professor Eoin Sheehan is an Orthopaedic Consultant at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore. He said: “Mechanised vehicles such as e-scooters have a weapon like impact on the human body such is the force and impact involved. The lack of high-visibility clothing and helmets along with the speed of e-scooters is causing catastrophic injuries”.
The Aeromedical Helicopter based in Athlone attended the event along with other emergency service vehicles such as NAS Emergency Ambulances, a Fire Tender, Emergency Tender and a Hydraulic Platform from Tullamore Fire station and Garda Response vehicles.