- Thursday, 09 April 2020 15:00
Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is providing additional support to assist South Western Ambulance Service (SWASFT) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Firefighter colleagues from across the region will provide valuable skills and support to paramedics through activities such as the driving of ambulances, trauma care and the delivery of medicine.
More than 170 volunteers have come from both an operational and non-operational background, and each one has offered to help in whatever way they can throughout the period.
This move follows a recent agreement between the National Employers, National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Brigades Union to support local authorities and the NHS.
Simon Shilton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for AF&RS, said: “As a Service, we are here to ensure our communities are safe. We know that our paramedic colleagues do a fantastic job but are stretched at this unprecedented time.
“We could not be more willing, and able, to help out in any way we can during these extremely challenging times.
“Our firefighters and staff are trained to an extremely high standard. They have a huge amount of experience in driving blue light vehicles and are very well respected in their local communities.
“We're extremely proud of each and every staff member who has put themselves forward and know they will do a fantastic job when called upon.”
Derek McCullough, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) Interoperable Capabilities Officer, added: “We are delighted about this partnership with fire service colleagues across the South West to support our frontline care of patients.
“We have invested in 15 additional ambulance vehicles, which have now been allocated to this important partnership initiative.
“The partnership will enable us to make more efficient use of our resources, and help us deal with the expected increase in demand over the upcoming weeks. This will mean we are better equipped to reach those most patients in need of our care, and ultimately to save more lives.”