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Firefighters respond to more than 400 medical emergencies in co-responding trial

PUBLISHED: 14:58 18 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:58 18 July 2017

More than 400 patients have been helped by a lifesaving partnership between firefighters and ambulance staff in Norfolk. Photo: Archant

More than 400 patients have been helped by a lifesaving partnership between firefighters and ambulance staff in Norfolk. Photo: Archant

Archant

More than 400 patients have been helped by a lifesaving partnership between firefighters and ambulance staff in Norfolk.

A pilot project between the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) to treat the most critically ill patients started on July 18, 2016.

Since then firefighters have responded to 405 medical emergencies across the county to help save lives when someone is unconscious and not breathing.

Firefighters from Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, King’s Lynn, Norwich, North Walsham, Sheringham and Thetford are dispatched to cardiac arrest calls alongside ambulance staff and volunteers.

Wendy Risdale-Barrs, EEAST co-responding regional lead, said: “This milestone is a testament to the excellent collaborative work in Norfolk between our emergency services.

“I would like to pay tribute to everyone for getting behind the scheme since day one which has made a significant impact on the lives of many.

“Every second counts when someone is in cardiac arrest and getting someone there quickly doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and equipped with a defibrillator greatly increases the chances of survival.”

Paul Seaman, NFRS’s lead officer for emergency medical response, added: “In the first year of co-responding, firefighters from nine Norfolk stations took part in the national pilot attending patients in cardiac arrest, alongside paramedic colleagues.

“The scheme has undoubtedly seen some successful outcomes for patients and staff at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have approached this new work with upmost professionalism.

“I have been immensely proud of the firefighters’ work in what at times have been extremely stressful situations.”

Firefighters are trained in basic life support and equipped with defibrillators.

And the ambulance trust is providing on-going training to those taking part in the trial.

The pilot was also deemed a success by the Fire Brigades Union.

Alan Jaye, chairman for Norfolk, said: “There are people walking about who might not be otherwise.

“So in that respect it’s a success.”

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