Fire service colleagues to support EMAS with COVID-19 response

Fire service colleagues to support EMAS with COVID-19 response

Fire service personnel social distancing in front of ambulances

Fire service colleagues from the six Fire and Rescue services across the East Midlands will be joining us at EMAS to commence training to support our response to COVID-19.

If the need arises in the coming weeks, fire service personnel will work alongside our EMAS Urgent Care colleagues and will carry out support tasks such as driving our Urgent Care vehicles and the safe moving and handling of our patients.

Between 10 to 12 fire service colleagues have been requested from each fire service in our region – Humberside, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, as well as control room staff and members of their logistics teams.

Our 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 colleagues joining us to support with COVID-19 will be on-call firefighters. All those joining us 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.”

Fire service personnel and ambulance crew member in cab of an urgent care ambulance

A two-day EMAS familiarisation training course has been created by our 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 our Hazardous Area Response Team centre in Mansfield, and our education and development centres in Northampton, Lincoln and Leicester.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Gavin Tomlinson said: “We are committed to supporting the emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic and are exploring different ways in which we can help our communities and assist partners such as our colleagues at East Midlands Ambulance Service.

“Over 162 members of staff came forward to volunteer to support EMAS and six of those have already undertaken their training and they are now ready, willing and able to assist driving urgent care vehicles should they be required. A further six volunteers are set to start their training in the coming week.  

“Each and every one of us has a part to play in beating this virus and Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service will continue to play its part wherever possible, whilst continuing to provide an emergency 999 response should we be needed.” 

Rick Taylor, Chief Fire Officer at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Earlier this week, 12 of our colleagues received training, enabling them to use their professional knowledge and skills to support EMAS in the response to COVID-19. This is an exceptional example of effective partnership working, and we are really proud to be able to assist our colleagues across the blue light services.”

Shoulder with fire epaulette next to an ambulance crest

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.”

Chief Fire Officer for Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Chris Blacksell, said: “Humberside Fire & Rescue Service is proud to be supporting East Midlands Ambulance Service, together with our neighbouring colleagues, by providing staff to help with transporting patients and delivering PPE during the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Lincolnshire's Chief Fire Officer, Les Britzman, said:

"Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue already work closely with partners to help in communities, with many firefighters carrying out extended duties, assisting EMAS at a range of medical emergencies. Our firefighters are dedicated to their communities, and have taken this stance for 20 years, to save lives and protect residents. We are currently working with partners, staff and representative bodies to consider how our teams can further support our communities during this emergency and we thank the public for their support."

Fire Service Personnel are already supporting colleagues in Yorkshire Ambulance Service and London Ambulance Service.

Bag and mask on a patient