Blue light services join forces to launch the UK’s first regional Emergency First Responder scheme

A new six-month pilot scheme will see East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and the Fire and Rescue Services based in the region work together to save more lives.

Demand on the Ambulance Service is increasing by approximately 6% year on year, yet thanks to successful better electrical product safety, public education and safety campaigns demand on the Fire Service is reducing.

EMAS Head of Community Response, Michael Barnett-Connolly said:

“EMAS receives a new 999 call every 43 seconds, and in an emergency seconds count. During this innovative pilot scheme, an Emergency First Responder (EFR) will be dispatched at the same time as an ambulance. This will not replace the usual emergency medical response from EMAS however, as with our Community First Responders, their location within local communities could mean the EFR is nearer to the scene and can deliver lifesaving care in those first critical minutes of the emergency until an ambulance clinician arrives.”

EMAS has trained each EFR to enhance their existing medical care knowledge, including basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy. The EFRs are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

The pilot officially launches in June 2015 when Derbyshire, Humberside, Leicestershire & Rutland, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire also gone live with the pilot. Latest figures published nationally show that just over 21% of patients who suffered a cardiac arrest in the East Midlands arrived at hospital with a pulse. The clear ambition of this pilot is to improve the survival rate for those people who suffer from a life-threatening illness or injury in the community.

The pilot will be monitored on a daily basis and evaluated in December 2015 by all parties to ensure it remains an effective scheme offering a level of quality patient care in the local community. Michael added:

“At EMAS we are already supported by Community First Responder volunteers who work tremendously hard and do a fantastic job in their local areas. The addition of EFRs will further strengthen our response in these communities and the two models will work side-by-side to save more lives.”

Comments from Fire and Rescue Services

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service
Whilst this approach is new to several Fire and Rescue Services in the East Midlands, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service has supported EMAS by co-responding to medical emergencies for over 15 years. Sean Taylor, Divisional Commander for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, says:

“During this time we have attended over 30,000 cases of local residents requiring medical assistance. Currently our on-call firefighters at 21 stations can be deployed to deliver first aid, oxygen therapy, administer defibrillation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Co-responding now actually makes up about 40% of our calls, and because of the success of the scheme, we are delighted will we soon be providing this life-saving service from another five stations in Lincolnshire.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of LIVES who provide clinical training to our firefighters. By working in partnership we are committed to getting local residents the treatment they need, as soon as possible.”

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service
Chief Fire Officer, Dene Sanders at HFRS said:

“Our fire fighters have received exceptional trainingfrom East Midlands Ambulance Service and are looking forward to offering their assistance to patients through the scheme. The overriding aim of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is to protect our communities and reach and save those in danger who are in need of our help as quickly as possible. This joined-up approach can only enhance the service we provide and will improve patient outcomes across Northern Lincolnshire.”

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Services Assistant Chief Fire and Rescue Officer, Steve Lunn said:

“During this pilot, our on-call firefighters will be available for a community response to a medical emergency too. Being in the immediate vicinity of the emergency will mean that we can arrive quickly to start life-saving treatment, while our ambulance colleagues travel to the scene to provide the specialist medical care. Providing the extra level of response capability will not affect our ability to respond to fires and other emergencies.”

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service
Acting Chief Executive Joy Smith said:

“A number of our on-call firefighters have received extensive training and are ready to start responding to medical emergencies, within the communities they serve, as emergency first responders. The four stations who will provide this additional service during the trial are Staveley, Matlock, Dronfield and Buxton. This will not affect the Fire and Rescue Service’s ability to respond to its own 999 calls.

With our professional firefighters being based in the immediate vicinity of the emergency, this will mean as EFRs they can arrive quickly and start life-saving treatment while our ambulance colleagues travel to the scene to provide specialist medical care.”

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Martyn Emberson said:

“During this pilot the on call firefighters will be available for a community response to a medical emergency. Being in the immediate vicinity of the emergency will mean we can arrive quickly to start life-saving treatment while our ambulance colleagues travel to the scene to provide the specialist medical care.”

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
Group Manager Bryn Coleman, of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“Our firefighters are used to dealing with medical emergencies as part of their role and often work alongside colleagues from EMAS in a number of emergency situations. The pilot will see on-call firefighters at some stations responding to medical emergencies in their own communities, which means they can be on scene quickly to start providing the necessary life-saving treatment while colleagues from the ambulance service travel to the scene to carry out specialist medical care.

We are pleased to be able to use our skills and training in this way, as an extension of our existing
role, for the benefit of the whole community.”


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