Avon’s firefighters show student paramedics the ropes

Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AFRS) has successfully delivered the second familiarisation training programme to the newest cohort of student paramedics at the University of the West of England (UWE), in partnership with the South West Ambulance Service (SWAST).

The course aimed to provide an insight into the varied and technical responses that AFRS provides, alongside the various emergency situations the service attends.

Over a three-week period, stations including Temple, Avonmouth, Hicks Gate and Bedminster delivered 12 days of practical and theoretical training to the student paramedics, including breathing apparatus, urban search and rescue (USAR), aerial appliances, rope rescue, swift water rescue, heavy rescue, bariatric rescue and animal rescue followed by a fire fighting overview.

Gareth Lloyd, AFRS Station Manager, said, “The familiarisation training was a huge success, not only does it help us build better relations with our partner agencies but it also helps us gain a better understanding of the varied work each service provides as well as any joint working protocols that need to be maintained.

“The crews delivered some really in-depth training to the new student paramedics, and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication throughout.

“As a service, it is vitally important that we continue to work in cohesion with our partner agencies, to effectively respond and deal with incidents which keep our communities safe.

Since the pandemic hit, emergency services have worked closer together than ever before to protect the NHS and help save lives. Training courses like this ensure effective public services delivery, promotes better relationships and joint understanding of the ways each service works, which can only have better outcomes for our communities and each service.”

Joanne Markerson, Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science at UWE, added, “The UWE Paramedic Science team are really pleased to continue the collaboration with Avon Fire and Rescue Service as part of their Community Placement. The first Year BSc students attend four fire stations across each week to learn about the capabilities of AFRS, including specialist rescue techniques such as water rescue, rope rescue, and urban search and rescue.

“Placed at the start of the course, this shared learning experience develops the foundations of collaborative working. It builds on their university teaching to help prepare the students for the dynamic incidents that they are likely to attend alongside fire service colleagues during their emergency ambulance placements. We hope to continue this highly beneficial working partnership, developing ready and able students for their future placements and lifelong careers.”