Fire service colleagues to support EMAS with COVID-19 response

20/04/2020

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) staff have joined those from across the East Midlands to support colleagues at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) in their response to COVID-19.

The first of the NFRS volunteers have undertaken initial training so that, if the need arises in the coming weeks, they will be able to work alongside EMAS Urgent Care colleagues and carry out support tasks such as driving Urgent Care vehicles and the safe moving and handling of patients.

Between 10 and 12 fire service colleagues were requested from each fire service in the East Midlands region – Humberside, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire - as well as control room staff and members of logistics teams.

EMAS Chief Executive Richard Henderson and several other colleagues are working closely with the Chief Fire Officers, to ensure a co-ordinated approach. The NFRS volunteers who have undertaken initial training are all operational firefighters; however, support staff have also volunteered and are likely to be asked to undergo training in the near future.

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 John Buckley said: “As a Service we have always worked closely with our colleagues from EMAS and other partner agencies, but in these challenging times it is more important than ever that we stand together and support each other.

“It is only by providing a strong and resilient response to this pandemic, that we can hope to overcome it. I know I speak for the whole of NFRS when I say how pleased we are to continue our excellent relationship with EMAS, and provide support to them and our communities at this time of need.”

Volunteers have undertaken a two-day EMAS familiarisation training course, with the cohorts being taught in small groups of six to allow for social distancing. The training has taken place at EMAS’s Hazardous Area Response Team centre in Mansfield.

Fire and rescue service personnel are already supporting ambulance service colleagues in Yorkshire and London.

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