Haverhill firefighters in medical emergency scheme trial

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dan Fearn, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust Regional Blue Light Collaboration Lead Wendy Risdale-Barrs and Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection Matthew Hicks ANL-161020-151433001
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dan Fearn, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust Regional Blue Light Collaboration Lead Wendy Risdale-Barrs and Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection Matthew Hicks ANL-161020-151433001

A life-saving partnership between ambulance staff and firefighters will be launched this weekend.

Haverhill is one of five fire stations selected to trial co-responding in Suffolk which will see firefighters respond to certain medical emergencies within their communities.

The scheme, which sees Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) work in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), will provide a total of nine appliances for the trial, which runs until February 2017.

Firefighters, along with paramedics and community first responders, will be deployed to cardiac arrest incidents to provide potentially lifesaving interventions.

SFRS crews are already trained in providing lifesaving treatment, with appliances already carrying defibrillators and trauma bags, but have received additional training from EEAST.

They have also been provided with additional lifesaving equipment to ensure patients receive a consistent level of treatment from all responders attending cardiac arrests.

Dan Fearn, assistant chief fire officer, said: “The scheme is part of a national trial and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is positive and ambitious about continuing our collaboration journey with blue light partners in the county in order to ensure we are doing all that we can to protect and assist the communities of Suffolk when in need.

“We have fantastic departments and teams right across the service and this trial will see crews utilising, in many cases, years of operational experience and expertise in dealing with life critical incidents.”

Cllr Matthew Hicks, Suffolk’s County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection said: “The multi-agency project team, comprising of Blue Light responders, representative bodies and service specialists have engaged fully with the concept of co-responding, and it is great to see Suffolk continuing with its track record of improvement, innovation and collaboration.”

Wendy Risdale-Barrs, regional Blue Light collaboration lead, said: “Building on the collaborative work already undertaken through community first response (CFR), public access defibrillation and RAF co-response schemes, we also believe co-response schemes can add significantly to our ability to respond to patients quickly and start basic life support.

“We know that the quicker someone starts CPR and gets a defibrillator to a patient in cardiac arrest the better chance they have of surviving.”

The other fire stations taking part in the trial are Lowestoft South, Felixstowe, Sudbury and Long Melford.