EMS - 150 Years of Service in Dublin

Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) celebrated its 150th year of operational service to the citizens of the capital in June this year. During the weekend’s festivities and commemorations the brigade highlighted its history in providing emergency medical care for the public.

Ambulance Restoration Project

In preparation for the celebrations a DFB/FÁS project saw the rebuilding of DFB’s first operational ambulance from1898. Theoriginal ambulance was designed entirely by the Chief Fire Officer, ThomasPurcell (1892-1917). Historical material was examined by the project team and the work was undertaken over several months in the grounds of
Dun Laoghaire fire station.The first case* to which the original ambulance was dispatched involved a ship called ‘The Cerlew’ that had diverted to Dublin port after the nets became snagged and caused an accident which left a crew-member John Smith with two broken legs and another with minor injuries. The ambulance met the boat at the quayside and removed both patients to hospital. One crewman was released after 
treatment but sadly John Smith died two days later as a result of his injuries. Inits first year of service the ambulance went onto respond to 537 calls. 


Old Meet New

It was striking to see the stark contrast between the old and the new as the Advanced Paramedic vehicle and the horsedrawn ambulance stood beside each other on the parade ground of Dublin castle. In many ways the vintage ambulance was perfectly placed in the historical environment and the modern vehicle was a symbol of the progression in emergency medical service delivery over the last century of EMS in Dublin Fire Brigade. EMS Commemorative Medal The highlight of the 150th anniversary celebrations was a parade from Parnell Square to Dublin Castle. Each serving member of staff was issued with two commemorative medals; one to mark 150 years of fire service and one to mark a centenary of ambulance service. The medals were proudly worn by all on the parade. The vintage horse drawn ambulance was a very big hit with the general public, especially with the children,who lined the parade route. In Dublin Castle the parade was received by the Lord Mayor,the City Manager and the Chief Fire Officer. The key note speech was given by Mr Joe Duffy (RTE)who highlighted key EMS moments in the history of the brigade; such as actions during the Irish civil war, the North Strand bombings, the Dublin bombings and the Stardust disaster.
Joe also recounted with some emotion his own personal gratitude to the men and women of Dublin Fire Brigade for the emergency medical attention he received after his leg was crushed in a serious traffic incident in April 2009.

Ref- *Geraghty,T.Witehead,T.(2004)TheDublinFireBrigade,Ahistoryofthe
brigade,the fires&the emergencies,Dublin:Colour Books Ltd.(p103)