(left to right) CFO Paul Fuller CBE and EEAST Head of Response Simon King Image BFRS

Seconded firefighters keep ambulances on the road

On Thursday (24 September 2020) Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) came together with East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to thank firefighters for their outstanding support during COVID.

Since March BFRS has worked with EEAST to provide over 20 seconded firefighters to drive ambulances.

This enabled EEAST to keep more ambulances on the road. Between April-August they worked a total of 12,530 hours; covered over 1,000 shifts and drove over 500 ambulances.

This joint partnership was part of a co-responding initiative and Firefighters have been attending emergency incidents with EEAST ever since. Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller CBE said:

“The way that our firefighters fitted into EEAST’s team’s right across Bedfordshire has been remarkable and both services are looking to build on this collaborative spirit and camaraderie.

“We are already planning a number of projects to benefit patients and the wider community.

“I am so proud of what our firefighters have achieved over the last six months. Two uniforms united, two teams coming together to support our local communities and bolster the Ambulance Service.”

Blue light trained firefighters drove frontline emergency ambulances, freeing up paramedics to care for patients.

The Firefighters received specialist training, including familiarisation with EEAST’s vehicles and equipment alongside basic life support and safe moving and handling skills, so that they could help transfer patients.

BFRS said its firefighters willingly stepped forward to volunteer to support EEAST as they have the skills and experience to work alongside paramedics to respond to 999 calls.

As a legacy of this partnership and to leave a lasting memory, firefighters built EEAST a memorial garden to say thank-you. This is something they have been trying to get enough funds together to build for some time. The Firefighters wanted to ensure that it was just right, knowing how important it was to them.

Tom Barker, EEAST’s community response manager for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and West Essex, said:

“We were very grateful for the incredible support we received from our blue light colleagues in the fire and rescue service during the initial stages of the pandemic.

“In Bedfordshire, firefighters volunteered nearly 12,500 hours in support of our frontline crews, which made a big difference and helped us to keep our patients, staff, volunteers and the wider public safe.”

CFO Paul Fuller CBE with EEAST Award Image BFRS