Firefighters in South Yorkshire will be responding to some medical emergencies in a bid to save more lives.
Retained firefighters at Stocksbridge station have signed up to the ‘Emergency First Responder’ scheme, which will see them called out to certain emergencies at the same time as paramedics.
Firefighters have been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, oxygen therapy and to use defibrillators to help patients suffering heart attacks.
The scheme is a joint initiative between South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Bosses claim it is not aimed at replacing the usual emergency medical response from the county’s ambulance service, but aimed at getting trained first aiders to casualties quicker if they are closer to the scene.
Firefighters will only respond to calls when they are not dealing with blazes or collisions.
The fire service’s head of emergency response, Phil Shillito, said: “Our role as a fire service will always be to protect our communities and reach and save those who are in danger as quickly as possible.
“Our firefighters already do a great job of performing a wide range of duties beyond traditional firefighting - from attending flooding incidents to rescuing people from road traffic collisions. So I think it’s only natural for us to look for other ways to extend our skills and support the work of other local bodies, like the ambulance service.
Paul Stevens, the ambulance service’s head of community resilience, said: “We have a responsibility to ensure we explore every available option to improve clinical outcomes for people in South Yorkshire.”