A landmark agreement between emergency services in South Yorkshire will see up to five ambulance stand-by points created at fire stations across the county.
The existing fire stations at Aston Park, Barnsley, Birley Moor, Edlington and Parkway will be modified to allow ambulance staff to share space in one of the first schemes of its kind in the country.
The memorandum of understanding signed between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust sets out the proposed co-location of ambulance service resources at the sites, including office space for ambulance staff, welfare facilities and ambulance parking bays. It also allows for shared use of meeting rooms and gyms.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Roberts said: “This is the best possible proof of our commitment to pursue meaningful collaboration opportunities with our emergency service partners.
“This agreement makes perfect sense for us, for the ambulance service and for the taxpayer. By working alongside each other, the move will also benefit both organisations by improving how we work together to solve problems we both face, which can only help to improve the quality of the service we offer to local people.”
Jackie Cole, Locality Director of Emergency Operations in South Yorkshire, said: “Our staff often work together at incidents across the county and this opportunity means that our close working relationship will be further endorsed. Our vehicles operate from a network of strategically located stand-by points and the locations of some of SYFR’s stations are well matched to where our resources need to operate from to serve local communities and provide responsive patient care.”
The fire service is pursuing similar opportunities to share buildings with South Yorkshire Police.
Planners in Rotherham have previously approved proposals for a joint police and fire station in Maltby. Maltby fire station will close and the nearby police station will be modified to accommodate fire service vehicles and staff.
The project won Government Transformation Funding of £560,000 last year and will help save both South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue money by sharing building running costs, enabling funding to be targeted at frontline services.
Last year the Government announced new proposals to transform the way the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services work together. It wants to encourage collaboration by introducing a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work with one another to better improve efficiency and effectiveness.