Firefighters in shared medical response pilot scheme

A defibrillator, oxygen and an enhanced first aid kit are carried on fire engines across the County.

Firefighters who have volunteered have received advanced training from South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).

Firefighters from Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service would be called to specific medical emergencies, such as people with breathing difficulties or those who have experienced a heart attack.

They would be alerted to a call at the same time as ambulance crews and would provide an initial response to the local community giving immediate care alongside ambulance personnel. This dual approach means that the patient will benefit from early life saving treatment.

This scheme is being rolled out following successful trials in Thame and through the use of a roving fire engine which moves throughout Oxfordshire.

The scheme would not affect current SCAS response protocols.

SCAS have trained firefighters via a four-day course which includes written and practical exams.

Partnership working

Nigel Wilson, Area Manager for Operations and Resilience for Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This pilot scheme is an excellent example of effective partnership working, that will see skills and resources shared to enhance the service being offered to the local community”.

"A swift response is often crucial in a medical emergency and this scheme means that where appropriate, firefighters can be mobilised to start to give medical treatment before the arrival of the ambulance crew.”

"The extra training and equipment received by fire crews also means they have new skills that can be used at fires; road traffic collisions and other incidents, both for firefighter safety and to assist SCAS"

Nic Morecroft, Lead Community Response Manager from South Central Ambulance Service said: “We are pleased to have embarked on this trial with our partner organisation and are incredibly grateful for their commitment and support in order to get it up and running for the benefit of the local communities.  Having the extra response in Abingdon and Didcot will complement our existing Community Responder Schemes and Public Access Defibrillators, which are also in the area helping to save more lives.”