Sheffield firefighters saving lives in emergency first responder scheme

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Firefighters in Stocksbridge have responded to more than 50 medical emergencies since becoming ‘emergency first responders’.

The scheme is a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which sees firefighters called out to certain life-threatening incidents at the same time as paramedics.

So far firefighters have been called out to a number of cardiac arrests and incidents involving chest pains and breathing difficulties.

They have received training in basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and oxygen therapy and carry a defibrillator.

Emergency first responder firefighters are despatched at the same time as an ambulance when they are known to be closer to patients.

They are only able to respond when staffing levels at their fire station allows and the scheme does not affect fire cover.

On-call firefighters at Rossington and Dearne fire stations are now taking part in the scheme.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s head of emergency response, Phil Shillito, said: “Two months after this scheme went live, our firefighters are already showing the incredible value they can add to their communities and the role we can play as a fire service in enhancing the work of our emergency service partners and volunteer community first responders.

“Our role as a fire service will always be to protect our communities and reach and save those who are in danger as quickly as possible. So I think it’s only natural for us to look for other ways to extend our skills and support the work of other local bodies, like the ambulance service.”