South Yorkshire firefighters have dealt with 1,800 incidents where paramedics needed to provide urgent medical treatment to casualties locked or trapped in rooms.
Crews started helping with ‘medical break-in’ incidents in July 2014, with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue the first in the country to take on the role.
Firefighters use specialist equipment to break into properties, allowing paramedics to reach casualties.
The work used to be carried out by police officers, but with numbers of bobbies on the frontline shrinking, fire chiefs agreed to take on the role.
Head of Emergency Response, Tony Carlin, said: “We provide a first class emergency response to the people of South Yorkshire, but the skills and equipment our firefighters have mean we can apply that service to more than just fires.
“This arrangement benefits everyone. For the police it helps them to concentrate their resources on other areas of work. For our firefighters, they get experience of a wider range of emergency incidents and get to apply their extensive training to an even wider set of situations. For patients, it means they can receive they medical attention they need as efficiently as possible.”
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said: “All the emergency services are working together in South Yorkshire to make our resources go further and avoid duplication.