‘Wider awareness of CPR saves lives’ – Minister Simon Harris TD 


On Wednesday 12th of October the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD was joined by Order of Malta volunteers to launch Adam’s Gift: CPR Awareness Week. This is the second Adam’s Gift: CPR Awareness Week and took place from the 22nd to the 30th of October 2016. The nationwide initiative is designed to educate people of all ages in CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation), how to recognise and manage cardiac arrest, and how to potentially save a life.


Over 200 CPR Demonstrations Nationwide


Minister for Health Launches Adams Gift 201614670644_1437527522939207_3720196086192912184_n



The 2006 Department of Health Report of the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death (2006) estimates approximately 5,000 people will die from sudden cardiac death each year, including a small number of young people.


13-year old Adam McAndrew, the son of Order of Malta unit member Kerry, died from sudden cardiac death. Despite her grief and heartbreak, Kerry began an initiative to make Adam’s classmates aware of CPR and the importance of early access to Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), emergency services and good quality CPR.


Levels of CPR awareness are comparatively low in this country so Order of Malta Ireland is working with Kerry to amplify the message, encourage more people to learn the skill, and potentially save lives.


Minister Simon Harris TD said: ‘knowing CPR is a key life skill and one that everyone should know. I fully support the Order of Malta in their efforts to bring this message to the public and would encourage everyone to take part in one of their awareness sessions. I wish to commend the bravery of Kerry McAndrew who has spearheaded this initiative in her son’s memory. Wider awareness of CPR saves lives.’


Commander John Wright, National Director, Order of Malta Ireland said: ‘throughout the week members of our organisation will be providing free CPR awareness training IN OVER 80 LOCATIONS and CFR classes. They will also be checking the AEDs in their local communities. The 2006 report recommended increased availability and access to AED’s as a key priority in tackling this condition.’


“On the 12th of February, my heart was shattered into a million pieces when my 13 year old son Adam died of sudden cardiac arrest. I don’t think the pain will ever go away,but we can make sure that no-one else has to suffer the same pain. CPR saves lives, and this skill is Adam’s Gift to you.”    

– Kerry McAndrew, Adam’s mum & member of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps   Birr/Roscrea Unit.   


Listen to Pat Kenny on NewsTalk speaking to Kerry McAndrew, launching Adam’s Gift CPR Awareness Week 2015.



Adam & Mum Kerry (3)

The launch of ‘Adam’s Gift’ is an awareness initiative supported by the Order of Malta Ireland Ambulance Corps, with the aim of helping as many people as possible recognise the signs of cardiac arrest and to have the knowledge, training and confidence to offer their lifesaving skills if and when someone calls on their help.  We want to train more potential lifesavers to help save more lives.


Lifesaving Skills

During our CPR Awareness Week in 2015, we trained over 3,000 members of the public in the lifesaving skills of CPR. Volunteer members from units across the country provided free Cardiac First Responder (CFR) and CPR training to voluntary organisations, schools or community groups, providing them with the basic knowledge and skills to help make a difference and possibly save a life. 


The Order of Malta Ireland Ambulance Corps, established in 1938, has over 4,000 members in over 80 communities North and South of Ireland. Cadet units, where young people aged between 10-16 years old are also trained in basic lifesaving skills, are attached to over 50 units.


In addition to training our members, each year Order of Malta Ireland trains over 3,500 members of the public from all walks of life, to ensure that each has the potential to save a life. This training is provided by units of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps in their local communities and Order of Malta Ireland Training Services, which is our commercial division, based in Clyde Road, Ballsbridge. 


Why is this so important? 

In the event of a collapse from cardiac arrest, every minute is vital, but without CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or defibrillation, the chance of survival falls by up to 10% a minute. After just five minutes, that person may only have a 50% chance of survival. Recent figures issued show that bystander CPR has saved 6.5% of all cardiac arrests in Ireland, and annually some 5,000 people are losing their lives due to cardiac arrest. 


How can you get involved?

Join us on Facebook or contact your local Ambulance Corps Unit if you are a voluntary organisation or community group. Throughout the week, there are many open training sessions being held in Order of Malta Ambulance Corps Units around the country, so please email omac@orderofmalta.ie for more details.