Wye community is to benefit from additional support to deal with life-threatening medical emergencies, thanks to a partnership involving Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) and South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb).
Firefighters from Wye fire station are the latest to become trained as co-responders, part of a scheme run by SECAmb that KFRS joined in 2004. As well as answering calls to fires, road traffic collisions and other rescue incidents, firefighters who are trained to co-respond, answer certain life-threatening medical emergencies through the scheme, such as chest pains, heart attacks and breathing problems.
The scheme was set up to assist the ambulance service in rural areas and sees firefighters providing medical treatment to patients in the minutes before an ambulance arrives. As part of this partnership, Wye firefighters volunteered to extend their existing first-aid training in the use of equipment, such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs). They also carry oxygen and are trained in basic life-support skills.
David Escudier, KFRS Operational and Development Manager, said: “We have been responding to medical emergencies on behalf of SECAmb in some areas since 2004 and have had a lot of public support for this work. We are therefore delighted to be able to work with SECAmb to extend this potentially life-saving work. It makes sense that if an equipped and trained firefighter can get to a medical emergency first, or is already on the scene of an incident, that they provide appropriate medical assistance while an ambulance is on its way.”
SECAmb Immediate Emergency Care Responder (IECR) project lead, Matt England said: “This is all about saving more lives. When someone is in cardiac arrest, with every minute that passes their chances of survival diminish significantly. This great scheme will give us up to an extra 120 AEDs out there in communities across Kent which has to be a good thing. All the firefighters volunteered to be part of the scheme and act as an additional response to our crews.
“We’ll always assign an ambulance response to the call at the same time but if the firefighters reach the scene of an emergency before ambulance crews, they will be able to begin vital life-saving treatment.”
Regular training and maintenance of the equipment by SECAmb ensures that these life-saving tools and skills are kept up to date.
In addition, a new AED funded by Wye with Hinxhill Parish Council and Councillor Noel Ovenden’s ABC Ward Member’s fund in partnership with SECAmb, is now available to the community and is housed outside Wye Fire Station.
KFRS will be running some basic life support and AED training for a a limited number of people living in the area. Any one interested should contact Watch Manager James Ingleton on 01622 692121 ext.6660 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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For more information regarding the provision of the AED please contact the Parish Clerk on 01233 812459 or email email@example.com.