Firefighters from Nottinghamshire who volunteered to work alongside Urgent Care crews from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) during the coronavirus pandemic responded to approximately 400 incidents in just under four months.
Twelve firefighters from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), including some from the Service's Prevention department, training department and on-call section, volunteered to carry out tasks such as driving and assisting in the safe moving and handling of patients.
Between April and the end of July this year, the NFRS volunteers completed 96 shifts of up to 12-hours with EMAS. After reporting for duty at one of several ambulance hubs in Nottinghamshire, they would partner up with an EMAS Urgent Care colleague to respond to incidents across the county.
Typical tasks included driving urgent care vehicles, administering first aid and supporting the EMAS crew in ensuring patients receive the care they need at home or on their way to hospital.
To mark the success of the partnership, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and EMAS have joined forces to put together a video showcasing some of the benefits and achievements of the recent joint working.
Firefighter Craig Langton, who works in NFRS's Persons at Risk team, said: "It's been a privilege to work so closely alongside our EMAS colleagues, particularly during the recent challenges of Covid and how that has impacted on everyone. "We did receive some training so we could get used to EMAS' equipment and vehicles and their ways of working, but I've learnt so much more from working with them. It's made me challenge and push myself, and I have so much respect for what they do on a daily basis.
"As I work in the Prevention team, a lot of our work such as going out to schools and visiting people in their homes was put on hold because the coronavirus, so for me, volunteering was the right thing to do and I've enjoyed every minute."
The volunteering formed part of an agreement in which staff from the six fire and rescue services across the East Midlands region worked alongside EMAS.
General Manager for the Nottinghamshire Division of EMAS, Greg Cox said: "Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service have supported our response to the pandemic as our services anticipated an increase in demand.
"As a result of this collaboration, our frontline members of staff have been able to continue to respond to patients and ultimately help save lives.
"This scheme has strengthened our already established working relationships with our fire colleagues."
NFRS Group Manager Andy Macey, who has been co-ordinating the volunteering, said: "Firefighters and ambulance crews are used to working closely together at a wide range of incidents, but what we have witnessed in recent months has called for a different approach to supporting our partners.
"The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic has made it even more important than ever that we stand together and support each other - although we are different services our aim is exactly the same, to serve the public and to keep people as safe as possible.
"The partnership with EMAS has enabled us to utilise the training and skills of our firefighters to support our Urgent Care colleagues in a positive and practical way; this has not only assisted them in their response to Covid-19, but has further strengthened our mutual respect and understanding for each other's work.
"I am pleased we have had this opportunity to work closely together and I very much hope there will be more opportunities to support our partners in times of need in the future."