Firefighters to attend medical emergencies

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People in life-threatening situations who require urgent medical intervention will be treated by specially trained firefighters before ambulance crews arrive when a new project is launched.

The First Responder project will be piloted in Morecambe and Ormskirk for six months.

Firefighters will be sent to certain types of medical emergencies if they can get there quicker than an ambulance.

An ambulance would also be sent at the same time and would treat the patient when they arrive.

The project is a joint pilot with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

The whole team will be involved in the response but not everyone on the crew will have to deliver treatment, others could be involved in scene management or providing reassurance to family or friends.

Clinical evidence shows that patients in life-threatening situations who receive rapid intervention will have a better chance of survival.

Fire crews will be used in the same way that NWAS uses its network of Community First Responders which are in place across the county with the added advantage of being able to get to the emergency under blue lights and sirens

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer Justin Johnson said:“If someone suffers a heart attack we want them to get the response they need to survive as quickly as possible, knowing that they won’t be concerned what uniform the person they first see on coming round is wearing.”

A North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) NHS Trust spokesperson said: “We are very pleased to be part of this pilot project which will see us work even closer with the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) to the benefit of our patients. This scheme allows us to explore new initiatives.”

A start date for the pilot project has yet to be established.