Message in a Bottle Launch
Monday 6 March 2023
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Ennis Lions Club’s ‘Message in a Bottle’ has been formally launched in County Clare by Councillor Johnny Flynn, deputising for the Mayor, at Ennis Fire Station on last Friday, March 3rd. Maria Hanly, Project Leader with Ennis Lions Club, has been engaging for several months with all four emergency services and several age-related services to inform, educate and promote the simple but effective scheme, and has achieved universal collaboration from all partners to support it. ‘Message in a Bottle’ is a simple idea promoted by Lions Club of Ireland. It encourages people to keep their basic personal and medical details in a common place, where, in cases of emergency, the attending service teams can easily access them. The information required is very basic but can be lifesaving. A bottle (Plastic Container) complete with personal information form and self-adhesive green crosses is given to the user. The completed form is placed in the bottle which is then placed in the door of the fridge. The stickers are placed on the fridge and on the door of the room where the user’s medications are kept. In the event of an accident or incident within the home, which may involve a non-verbal or unconscious patient, the first responder/emergency services on the scene will be alerted to presence of the bottle by the label on the fridge door. The time saved by having medical information immediately, or brought to hospital with the patient, may make the difference between life and death. Maria Hanly presented the ‘Message in a Bottle concept’ to the group from design and execution of the pack to the vision of having them in every home in the Mid-West that wished to avail of them. In endorsing the emergency information project Cllr Flynn suggested that it was like ‘writing a love letter to yourself’ as completing the form is an act of self-care that could help to save your life.
At the launch, generously hosted by PJ McGrath, Manager at Ennis Fire Station, Maria Hanly and Lion President Paul Watson were joined by Garda Inspector David Finnerty and Superintendent John Ryan, along with several community-based Gardaí who are already distributing the bottles at community events and within homes that they visit. Representing the ambulance services were Keith Mullane Regional Manager who has given extensive first responder advice and assistance in developing this product, and David Daly Operations Manager, both from HSE Ambulance Service. Steven Hayes from Clare Civil Defence and Chief Fire Officer Adrian Kelly also attended to lend their voices to the support received across the board from the emergency services. Officer Kelly spoke on behalf of all emergency services outlining the great level of cooperation and camaraderie between them all that ensures the most effective response in any critical situation. He championed the ‘Message in A Bottle’ project confirming their support in bringing it to the attention of the community and commended Ennis Lions Club, and Maria Hanly in particular, for it.
Community based services were also enthusiastic in their support. Fiona Staunton, Home Advisor from The Alzheimers Society spoke positively of her experience with ‘Message in a Bottle’ – which she has rolled out for over 10 years now, since it was first launched by Lions Club Ireland. She said it is a simple idea but can have a powerful impact. Other services in attendance were Family Carers Clare represented by Fiona Hartigan and Clare Older Persons Forum represented by Maurice Harvey, and St. Joseph’s Hospital, represented by Leahnora Clohessy, Senior Occupational Therapist HSE. The Ambulance Service also brought along two representatives of the pilot project Pathfinders, Blathín and Claire who are a physiotherapist and occupational therapist respectively. (Pathfinders is a pilot HSE programme intended to keep over 65’s in emergency situations in their own home, where possible, rather than transporting them to the Emergency Department (ED) for assessment.)
Lion President Paul Watson expressed thanks to all involved saying “We are very appreciative of the cross-agency support leading up to this launch and the response here today, and we look forward to working with all agencies into the future to continue to support our community with ‘Message in a Bottle’ and other projects.”
If you or someone you know would like to have a ‘Message in a Bottle’ email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and you will be contacted as soon as is possible. Ennis Lions Club is open to new members who are interested in supporting community based projects under the motto ‘We Serve’.
Susan Ward 086 1033195
Maria Hanly 087 2258389
Paul Watson 087 2405007