Blue light services join forces to launch the UK’s first regional Emergency First Responder scheme

Blue lights 2015A new six-month pilot scheme will see East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and the fire and rescue services based in the region work together to save more lives.

Demand on the ambulance service is increasing by approximately six percent year on year, yet thanks to ongoing community safety initiatives and an increased awareness in fire safety, demand on the fire and rescue service is reducing.

EMAS Head of Community Response, Michael Barnett-Connolly said, “EMAS receives a new 999 call every 43 seconds, and in an emergency seconds count.

“During this innovative pilot scheme, an Emergency First Responder (EFR) will be dispatched at the same time as an ambulance. This will not replace the usual emergency medical response from EMAS however, as with our Community First Responders, their location within local communities could mean the EFR is nearer to the scene and can deliver lifesaving care in those first critical minutes of the emergency until an ambulance clinician arrives.”

EMAS has trained each EFR to enhance their existing medical care knowledge, including basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy. The EFRs are equipped with a kit, which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

The scheme officially launches in June 2015 when all six East Midlands based fire and rescue services (Derbyshire, Humberside, Leicestershire & Rutland, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire) have gone live with the pilot.

Latest figures published nationally show that just over 21 percent of patients who suffered a cardiac arrest in the East Midlands arrived at hospital with a pulse. The clear ambition of this pilot is to improve the survival rate for those people who suffer from a life-threatening illness or injury in the community.

The pilot will be monitored on a daily basis and evaluated in December 2015 by all parties to ensure it remains an effective scheme offering a level of quality patient care in the local community.

Group Manager Bryn Coleman, of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Our firefighters are used to dealing with medical emergencies as part of their role and often work alongside colleagues from EMAS in a number of emergency situations.

“The pilot will see on-call firefighters at some stations responding to medical emergencies in their own communities, which means they can be on scene quickly to start providing the necessary life-saving treatment while colleagues from the ambulance service travel to the scene to carry out specialist medical care.

“We are pleased to be able to use our skills and training in this way, as an extension of our existing role, for the benefit of the whole community.”

Michael added, “At EMAS we are already supported by Community First Responder volunteers who work tremendously hard and do a fantastic job in their local areas. The addition of EFRs will further strengthen our response in these communities and the two models will work side-by-side to save more lives.”