Blue light services join forces to launch Yorkshire’s first Emergency First Responder scheme
Successful pilot sees scheme rolled out across Humberside and the East Riding
More than 70 fire fighters across 7 fire stations in Humberside and the East Riding will soon be responding to selected emergency calls at the same time as an ambulance, thanks to the launch of the county’s first Emergency First Responder (EFR) scheme.
The scheme is a joint initiative between Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) and officially launches on Friday 16 May 2014 with the support of Andrew Percy MP.
The scheme was trialled at Pocklington Fire Station during 2013 and volunteer fire service staff have now received training at Market Weighton, Howden, Goole, Driffield, Brough and Snaith Fire Stations with additional locations planned for later in the year.
Each EFR has been trained in basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy. They are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.
An EFR will be despatched at the same time as an ambulance and will not replace the usual emergency medical response from YAS. However, their location within local communities could mean they are nearer to the scene in those first critical minutes of a medical emergency, delivering life-saving care until an ambulance clinician arrives.
David Whiting, Chief Executive at YAS said: “We have a responsibility to ensure we explore every available option to improve clinical outcomes for people in Humberside and the East Riding and we are delighted to be working in partnership with HFRS on the launch of the county’s first Emergency First Responder scheme.
“We have a very clear ambition to improve the survival rate for those people who suffer from a cardiac arrest in the community. We want to have world class levels of survival from cardiac arrest and the launch of this initiative is one more important element in saving more lives.
“Humberside and the East Riding are already served by our award-winning Community First Responder teams who do a fantastic job as volunteers in their local areas. The addition of Emergency First Responders will further strengthen our response in these communities and the two models will work side-by-side to save more lives.
“We are also working with health partners, local MPs, Councillors and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to increase the number of public access defibrillators in the area and further improve cardiac arrest survival rates in the East Riding.”
Emergency First Responders are only available for dispatch when staffing levels at their Fire Station allow and the scheme will not impact fire cover.
Chief Fire Officer, Dene Sanders at HFRS said: “I am delighted that the trial at Pocklington was such a success and that the scheme will now be rolled out across more of our stations in the East Riding. Our fire fighters have received exceptional training from Yorkshire Ambulance Service and are looking forward to offering their assistance to patients through the scheme.
“The overriding aim of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is to protect our communities and reach and save those in danger who are in need of our help as quickly as possible. This joined-up approach can only enhance the service we provide and will improve patient outcomes across the East Riding.”
The scheme has been praised by Andrew Percy MP, who himself volunteers for YAS as a Community First Responder. Andrew commented: “I have worked closely with local NHS Trusts and others for some time now to look at ways to improve patient outcomes and response times. We have some great CFR schemes across the area, with hard working volunteers, and I hope that this will complement those schemes to ensure that we reach as many calls as possible as soon as possible.
“As an active Community First Responder myself, I know the value of these schemes and hopefully the linkup between Humberside Fire and Rescue and Yorkshire Ambulance Service will increase the hours responders are available and that could save lives.”
YAS Chief Executive, David Whiting, summed up the move by adding: “The demand placed upon blue light emergency services increases every year and our approaches to providing the best response and best patient outcomes available are continually evolving. By exploring innovative and alternative ways of working with all partners, together we can ensure our service remains responsive and safe and leads to more lives being saved.”
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust covers almost 6,000 square miles of varied terrain from isolated moors and dales to urban areas, coastline and inner cities and provides 24-hour emergency and healthcare services to a population of more than five million people. The organisation receives an average of 2,180 emergency and urgent calls per day and employs over 4,600 staff. Our Patient Transport Service makes just under one million journeys per year transporting patients to and from hospital and treatment centre appointments.