Paramedic partnership sets benchmark for joint working

A ground-breaking new training link-up between the fire and rescue service and paramedics looks set to dramatically improve the way emergency services work together at incidents.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) has teamed up with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to offer training exercises that test each agency’s response to road traffic collisions (RTCs).

These courses focus particularly on interoperability partnerships and by working alongside the next generation of paramedics, SYFR hopes the mutual learning at these workshops will help significantly develop the care a person receives before reaching hospital, substantially driving down death rates in the county.

Fire Officer and Training Instructor Trevor Roome said, “This is what emergency service interoperability is all about – learning from each other to create the best outcome for the people we are there to help. Interoperability can’t just be taught in a classroom, it has to be nurtured through integration and collaboration at practical exercises like these.”

Each session begins with theoretical input and a briefing from fire officers, where the medical professionals are taken through the various dynamic risk assessments, safety control measures and extrication techniques to deliver a safe and successful rescue of a casualty. The attendees then apply their knowledge and skills in realistic scenarios at SYFR’s cutting edge Sheffield training centre, using the appropriate tools and machinery that the service would have present at a RTC.

The doctors’ medical opinions are fed back to the instructors overseeing the extrication, to ensure the casualty’s needs are being met throughout the process.

At the end of the session a ‘hot debrief’ takes place to identify best practice and learning points for all involved.

“It is not only an opportunity for us to show medical professionals what our fire service can provide in order to facilitate a successful extrication, but also a chance to address good and bad practices fed back from the incident ground,” said Fire Officer Roome. “It’s our vision that this focus and investment on interoperability will result in a quantifiable reduction in death rates at incidents we attend alongside our emergency service colleagues.”

Doctor James Sen, who attended the first session, said, “From learning the basic principles of extrication, and the six phases of rescue in the classroom, we were able to apply them and run through different scenarios with real vehicles.

“What became apparent was the need to formulate a Plan B that would be easily achievable and which took into account the injuries of the casualty. I can now also appreciate the power in the tools used for space creation and the problems faced with new car technology.

“This training has taught me the basic principles of rescue and allowed me to understand how medical knowledge can fit into this, improving the overall outcome for the patient.

“I think that other pre-hospital medics would benefit from training such as this, just as I have. Ultimately, as services become more aware of each other and their roles at the scene, it will benefit society as a whole as the standard of care at RTCs will improve.”