Firefighters lend support to ambulance service

People standing in front of vehicles

April 2020: On-call firefighters began their ambulance driving training - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service are again supporting the NHS as ambulance drivers as the East of England Ambulance Service responds to an unprecedented number of calls.

Twelve on-call firefighters will work as ambulance drivers, alongside paramedics, until January 31.

They trained and supported the Ambulance Service during the first wave of the pandemic.

People standing socially distanced in front of ambulances

April 2020: On-call firefighters began their ambulance driving training - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

There will be additional opportunities for on-call firefighters as a two-day training course is planned at Chelmsford Ambulance Station next week.

Jo Turton, Chief Fire Officer, said: "It makes me so proud to see colleagues come forward to volunteer to support our NHS colleagues.


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"We were one of the first fire and rescue services in the country to respond during the first pandemic and our firefighters made a real difference.

“Firefighters from our service provided 8,350 hours, responded to an estimated 4,175 calls and helped to make 696 ambulances available during the first wave of the pandemic."

Man standing in front of ambulance

On-call firefighter turned ambulance driver Adriaan Phillipsen - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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From Easter Monday, 19 on-call firefighters began shifts as ambulance drivers as part of an eight-week partnership which was then extended until July 8. They attended a variety of incidents, including helping to deliver four babies.

Man holding baby

On-call firefighter Scott Draper helped to deliver a baby while working as an ambulance driver - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Jo added: "Of course, while this activity is taking place, we'll always maintain our core function as a fire and rescue service."

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