Firefighters in South Yorkshire attend hundreds of medical emergencies in pilot scheme

Firefighters demonstrate their potentially life-saving medical skills
Firefighters demonstrate their potentially life-saving medical skills
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Firefighters in South Yorkshire have provided medical assistance hundreds of times in a pilot scheme to support paramedics.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue sent specially trained crew members to 358 emergencies during 2016, where they attended to people with life-threatening conditions including cardiac arrests, chest pains and breathing difficulties.

Firefighters from Rossington, Stocksbridge and Dearne stations were sent to the scene as part of the Emergency First Responder initiative, run in conjunction with Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

They had been trained in basic life support, CPR and oxygen therapy, and were equipped with oxygen and a defibrillator, enabling them to provide support and make patients comfortable until ambulance crews reached the scene.

In all cases the firefighters were dispatched at the same time as an ambulance but being located closer to the scene meant they were often able to deliver care in the critical minutes before paramedics arrived.

They were only sent when staffing levels at their fire station were sufficient to ensure adequate fire cover.

Tony Carlin, head of emergency response at the fire service, 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."

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