Co-response pilot reaches 200th medical emergency

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Ambulance and fire service staff have attended their 200th medical emergency together since the launch of a co-response pilot.

Since May, firefighters have been attending cardiac arrests in some parts of the East under a new scheme run by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to help the most seriously unwell patients.

Firefighters in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Hertfordshire have been dispatched to cardiac arrests and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service’s pilot is due to start next month.

Under the scheme, firefighters are deployed as well as ambulance clinicians and community first responders to calls where a patient is not breathing and their heart has stopped beating.

Wendy Risdale-Barrs, Blue Light Collaboration Regional Lead for EEAST, said: “These are the most life-threatening calls where every second counts.

“The quicker someone can start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and shock a person’s heart with a defibrillator, the better the chances of survival.”

Firefighters are already trained in basic life support and are equipped with defibrillators and the Trust is providing on-going training.

Wendy added: “We have had a really positive response from firefighters and our staff since the co-response scheme launched, which has helped to save lives.

We look forward to continuing to work closely with our fire service colleagues as the pilot continues.”

The initiative covers more than 20 locations in the East of England and since it began firefighters have attended 20 in Bedfordshire, 20 in Cambridgeshire, 84 in Essex, 57 in Hertfordshire and 36 in Norfolk.