South Yorkshire firefighters attend 350 medical emergencies in a year

Firefighters Mark Atherton and Matt Hall
Firefighters Mark Atherton and Matt Hall
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Firefighters in South Yorkshire attended hundreds of medical emergencies last year under the county's 'Emergency First Responder' scheme.

The scheme is a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and involves firefighters called out to certain life-threatening incidents at the same time as an ambulance.

Mark Atherton and Matt Hall are among a number of firefighters helping in medical emergencies

Mark Atherton and Matt Hall are among a number of firefighters helping in medical emergencies

On-call firefighters from Rossington, Stocksbridge and Dearne fire stations were sent to 358 medical emergencies in 2016, including cardiac arrests and incidents where people were suffering from chest pains and breathing difficulties.

Firefighters involved in the scheme have received training in basic life support, CPR and oxygen therapy.

They are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator, which can re-start hearts.

Firefighters are dispatched at the same time as an ambulance but are not intended to replace the usual emergence response from the ambulance service.

Because of their base at the heart of a number of communities, firefighters can often arrive first and begin emergency first aid until medics arrive to take over.

Firefighters are only available for dispatch when staffing levels at their stations allow so that the sceme does not affect fire cover.

Tony Carlin, Head of Emergency Response for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Just over a year into this scheme going 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. A new statutory duty has made it a requirement for us to work more closely with our blue light partners, and this scheme is a perfect example of how we are already doing that.”