Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service will be among the six Fire and Rescue services across the East Midlands joining East Midlands Ambulance Service to commence training to support the response to COVID-19.
If the need arises in the coming weeks, fire service personnel will work alongside EMAS Urgent Care colleagues and will carry out support tasks such as driving Urgent Care vehicles and the safe moving and handling of patients.
Between 10 to 12 fire service colleagues have been requested from each fire service in the region – Humberside, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, as well as control room staff and members of their logistics teams.
EMAS Chief Executive Richard Henderson and several other colleagues are working closely with the Chief Fire Officers, and it is anticipated that many of the fire service employees supporting EMAS will be on-call firefighters. All those joining will have volunteered to support EMAS.
EMAS Chief Executive Richard Henderson said: “We have always worked closely with our fire and rescue service colleagues at the many multi-agency incidents we attend, and in recent years this relationship has become even stronger thanks to blue light collaboration at some of our stations, for example Birstall in Leicester and South Park in Lincoln, Swadlincote in Derbyshire and Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.
“In addition to such collaboration, we already work closely with fire co-responder schemes across the region and have done for many years.
“During these unprecedented times, we are more grateful than ever for the support of our blue light colleagues for offering to step in to support our staff and our patients.
“Having these robust plans for support from our fire service colleagues will help to ensure that our EMAS clinicians can continue to provide care to our patients who need us most.”
Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Our firefighters are committed to supporting their community in every way that they can and are proud to be playing their part to support our colleagues in the ambulance service as we deal with this national emergency.
“We will continue to respond to fire and rescue emergencies whenever we are needed, while we adapt the way we work to meet these new challenges with pride.”
A two-day EMAS familiarisation training course has been created by EMAS’s education team, and the cohorts will be taught in small groups of six to allow for social distancing to be observed. The training will take place this week and next week at the Hazardous Area Response Team centre in Mansfield, and our education and development centres in Northampton, Lincoln and Leicester.
Fire Service Personnel are already supporting colleagues in Yorkshire Ambulance Service and London Ambulance Service.