Delay at car crash part of “ongoing issue” with 999 calls

Emergency delay at the scene of a road traffic collision on the Carrick-on-Shannon to Ballinamore road last week is part of an “ongoing issue” with the 999 call procedure.

Emergency delay at the scene of a road traffic collision on the Carrick-on-Shannon to Ballinamore road last week is part of an “ongoing issue” with the 999 call procedure.

The Leitrim Observer received numerous reports concerning the emergency response to a single car crash on the Ballinamore - Carrick road last Tuesday, July 10 at just before 3.30pm

A car carrying children overturned on the road and resulted in one male being trapped inside. Reports from those at the scene said the ambulance personnel had to wait over 15 minutes for the fire brigade to attend to release the man from the car before medical treatment could be administered. There were traffic issues and many cars had to turn and find an alternative route to the main R280.

The Leitrim Fire Service vehemently deny any delay on behalf of the fire brigade. They have laid the blame on the shoulders of the Ambulance Control Service.

According to HSE West “The Ambulance Control received the first call at 15.26, and an ambulance arrived at the scene at 15.36.”

Leitrim Fire Service told the paper that if a 999 caller chooses the ambulance service, it is procedure that the Ambulance Control Service dispatches the other emergency services. According to Chief Fire Officer, Finian Joyce, “The first contact the fire service received from Ambulance Control about this RTC incident was at 15.37 which reported an RTC on the Ballinamore road out of Leitrim Village.” That shows a ten minute delay between the Ambulance Services Centre receiving the call of a traffic accident and contacting the Fire Service.

“The fire service did receive a call at 15.32 from a member of the public, but there was some confusion as to the exact location of the incident. Drumshanbo fire brigade was alerted and was in attendance at 15.45 (nine minutes after the ambulance) but when the location was clearer, Carrick fire unit was mobilised at 15.40 and were in attendance at 15.51. “In both cases this is a good response on the part of the fire services,” said Mr Joyce.

The Chief Fire Officer said “I am satisfied that there were no delays on the part of the fire service in responding to this incident once we were alerted.”

He said there is an “ongoing issue” with the procedure and commented that “perhaps there should be a change to procedure” but noted that was an issue for a different level.

No one was seriously hurt in the accident.