A project involving volunteers from Portishead Fire Station responding to emergency calls on behalf of Great Western Ambulance (GWAS) within the town is proving its worth.

In September 2011 a number of retained duty system (RDS) firefighters were trained to begin volunteering to act as agents for GWAS whilst not on call for Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS). They attend life-threatening medical emergencies using a vehicle supplied by GWAS.

Between September 2011 and March 2012 the volunteers attended 122 medical emergencies, including patients suffering chest pains, asthma attacks or breathing difficulties.

Since the pilot project began there has not been an occasion when the Portishead fire appliance has been unable to attend an incident for AF&RS.

Station Manager Stuart Matthews said: "This partnership clearly demonstrates how the skills of our crews can be used in a variety of ways in the community.

"The volunteers have been given further training from GWAS to add to their trauma care skills as both agencies have a vital role to play in the community so to be able to join forces in this way is a real benefit to patients across the area."

At last month's Avon Fire Authority meeting members noted the success of the scheme and authorised the evaluation of a number of other pilot schemes to other identified rural areas. A feasibility study will now be conducted in partnership with GWAS to ensure AF&RS fire appliances will not be affected as the priority is to ensure all fire stations maintain adequate operational cover at all times.


Posted June 22nd, 2012 at 1210 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com