Firefighters’ new role alongside ambulance crews to start today

PUBLISHED: 08:32 18 July 2016 | UPDATED: 08:32 18 July 2016

Paul Seaman, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service's project lead, welcomes the new initiative.

Paul Seaman, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service's project lead, welcomes the new initiative.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016

A life-saving partnership which will see firefighters from seven Norfolk stations deployed to cardiac arrests, alongside ambulance crews, will start today.

The initiative being run by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to support the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the largest in the region.

Where a patient is not breathing and their heart has stopped beating, the fire service will be deployed as community first responders at the same time as the ambulance service. Firefighters are already trained in basic life support and are equipped with defibrillators.

Paul Seaman, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s project lead, said: “This is an exciting new area of work for the service and much time and planning has gone into providing a sound platform to start the pilot. This project has the real potential to save lives in the county by using existing staff and their skills to provide lifesaving interventions.

Norfolk has agreed to adopt the co-responding initiative at stations in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, King’s Lynn, Norwich, North Walsham, Sheringham and Thetford.

Clinicians will still be sent as a top priority, but it is hoped the involvement of firefighters will improve cardiac arrest survival rates.

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