While there are no plans to put them into action straight away, the collaboration provides us with greater flexibility in times of increased demand as the service has recently witnessed.
The 42 firefighters will start a three day education programme with us from Monday 15 February with teams from Merseyside, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Cheshire undertaking training in kit familiarisation, driving and basic life support.
Discussions started recently after the fire service stepped forward with an offer to help. It was agreed that it would be sensible to train the groups so they could be activated at short notice in the event of a future surge in demand. One of the advantages of working with the fire service is their existing ability to drive on blue lights. As with the military, firefighters would assist clinicians in attending low level emergencies, enabling our crews to be freed up to respond to the more urgent, life-threatening incidents.
Director of Operations, Ged Blezard comments: “We work very closely with all our blue light partners – we attend resilience forums together, train together, respond together and in some cases, even share premises. In times like these, the public expect organisations like the blue light services to work together and it would be irresponsible not to accept the offer when it is extended to us.
“Initiatives such as this are a great example of public services working together to ensure people get the response they need and expect when they are vulnerable, and we are extremely grateful for the fire services for offering this support.”
Mersey Fire and Rescue’s CFO, Phil Garrigan said: “We are more than willing to play our part in any way we can, having highly competent firefighters trained and ready makes perfect sense. We work with the ambulance service every day across the North West so this response to meet increased demands is an extension of that working arrangement. We have a fantastic relationship with North West Ambulance Service, in many cases we work from the same community fire and ambulance stations, so are glad to help.”
As always, we are here for everyone in an emergency and the public can assist us by using 111 online if they need urgent care advice and only dialling 999 in a life-threatening situation.