Buxton firefighters set to provide medical care

Buxton Ambulance Station
Buxton Ambulance Station

Buxton firefighters are to act as Emergency First Responders (EFR) and provide medical care in a new pilot scheme.

The six-month scheme will see East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) working together to save more lives.

Firefighters, who already receive a high level of professional training in relation to trauma care as part of their role, have had further training from EMAS to enable them to act as Emergency First Responders.

The EFRs will be equipped with a kit including oxygen and an automated external defibrillator to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

Michael Barnett-Connolly, EMAS Head of Community Response, 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 will be dispatched at the same time as an ambulance and 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 in those first critical seconds and minutes of the emergency, delivering life-saving care until an ambulance clinician arrives.”

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

And acting chief executive of DFRS, Joy Smith, added: “A number of our on-call firefighters have received extensive training and are ready to start responding to medical emergencies, within the communities they serve, as Emergency First Responders. This will not affect the fire and rescue service’s ability to respond to its own 999 calls.

“With our professional firefighters being based in the immediate vicinity of the emergency, this will mean as EFRs they can arrive quickly and start life-saving treatment while our ambulance colleagues travel to the scene to provide specialist medical care.”