London emergency services ‘blues brothers’ paired up on front line to tackle COVID-19

(L to R) Leading Firefighter Tom Binder and London Ambulance Service paramedic Jack Binder.

London Ambulance Service paramedic Jack Binder (27) and his London Fire Brigade brother, Leading Firefighter Tom Binder (28), have been working together responding to those in need across the capital as part of a new blue light partnership to help boost the ambulance service’s response to COVID-19.

The new partnership across the two emergency services has helped the ambulance service respond to the demand of the COVID-19 crisis with up to 300 staff from London Fire Brigade helping drive ambulances and assist medics as directed.

The blue light brothers, Jack and Tom, both from Essex have worked on several shifts together since Tom started his secondment with the ambulance service a month ago.

Tom said, “I really wanted to help make a difference during this global pandemic and help to take pressure off the ambulance service. After hearing first-hand from Jack and listening to what he does on a day-to-day basis – I didn’t want to turn down this chance down.”

Jack said, “It has been great working so closely with Tom and responding to patients together. Though not sure he enjoys taking instructions from his younger brother! It’s a very unique experience and I don’t think anyone could have predicted this to happen a few months ago.”

Growing up the pair were always inseparable, with Jack only just a year younger than Tom, they often get mistaken for twins at work.

Joining the London emergency services came quite naturally to the brothers. Jack said, “Blue lights definitely runs in our blood!”

Tom added, “Our grandparents were both in the Metropolitan Police and our dad is a retired Group Commander in the Brigade. Hearing all the stories and jobs that they would go to, I could see no other career option growing up. It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Since being seconded to London Ambulance Service, Tom has responded to a variety of jobs across the capital. He said, “I have been to everything from attending to a new born baby to suspected strokes and cardiac arrest patients.”

He has found the training he received as a firefighter in immediate emergency care and incident command has proved really useful and he has been able to easily apply it to his role whilst working alongside medics.

Jack said, “I’m really proud of my brother. Not just with his willingness to help during this crisis but also with everything he has done at London Fire Brigade. He often rings me after his shifts and speaks with so much enthusiasm for everything he is doing at London Ambulance Service.”

The partnership has been a great learning experience for both the medics and the firefighters involved and has helped the ambulance service continue to respond to the most seriously ill and injured patients during the peak of the pandemic.

Tom said, “Blue light services have always had a good working relationship – I can see this partnership is only going to make things even better.”