Newport firefighters to attend heart attack 999 calls

Fire engine driving along road in rain

Fire engine driving along road in rain - Credit: Cambs Fire & Rescue Service

Firefighters in Essex will be called out to treat people suffering from a heart attack.

From Monday (May 9), on-call crews at Newport, Coggeshall and Ongar fire stations will respond to calls of cardiac arrest or patients stopping breathing at the same time as the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) as party of a co-responders scheme.

A week later, from May 16, fire engines from Colchester, Basildon and Frinton will also be sent to cardiac arrests.

Firefighters have received special training from the ambulance service and will use specially marked and equipped cars to reach the patients quicker and provide treatment until a paramedic or ambulance arrive.

It is hoped that after a trial period, the scheme will be rolled out to 20 other locations in the eastern region.

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Firefighters are already trained in basic life support and are equipped with defibrillators and the ambulance service will be providing on-going basic life support.

Rob Ashford, acting director of service delivery for EEAS, said: “We already work closely with 999 colleagues and this is an extension of our partnership to help patients with an immediately life-threatening condition.

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“Building on the collaborative work already undertaken through community first response, public access defibrillation and RAF co-response schemes, we also believe co-response schemes can add significantly to our ability to respond to patients quickly and start basic life support. We know that the quicker someone starts cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and gets a defibrillator to a patient in cardiac arrest the better chance they have of surviving.

“The ambulance service will continue to send clinicians to such patients as a top priority, but the best thing for the patient is to get someone trained in basic life support to their side as quickly as possible.”

Adam Eckley, acting chief fire officer for Essex, added: “This is an excellent example of the blue light collaboration work we are doing at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service with our other emergency service partners.

“Our fire stations are already at the heart of our communities and this co-responder scheme means that they will now be able to provide an immediate response to a medical incident if called upon.”

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