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Emergency First Responder scheme helps firefighters respond to over 150 life-threatening emergencies

Their location within local communities often means they are nearer to the scene in those first critical minutes of a medical emergency, delivering life-saving care until an ambulance clinician arrives
Each EFR has been trained in basic life support, CPR, and oxygen therapy

Retained firefighters at Pickering, Helmsley, and Lythe have now responded to over 150 life-threatening emergencies as Emergency First Responders.

A recent review of the scheme, shows that the Emergency First Responders have attended 28 instances of breathing difficulties, four cardiac arrests, and 35 instances of chest pain along with a number of other incident types (between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017).

Delivering life-saving care

The pilot scheme which is a joint initiative between Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) means an Emergency First Responder (EFR) is dispatched at the same time as ambulance. Their location within local communities often means they are nearer to the scene in those first critical minutes of a medical emergency, delivering life-saving care until an ambulance clinician arrives.

Each EFR has been trained in basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and oxygen therapy. They are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

Emergency First Responder scheme

The pilot scheme was launched in North Yorkshire in January 2016 following its introduction in Humberside, South Yorkshire, and West Yorkshire. One example of the success of the scheme is provided below.

An Emergency First Responder from Pickering went to reports of a male suffering a cardiac arrest in Norton, Malton. They arrived on scene within 15 minutes of receiving the call and an ambulance was also mobilised from York. Upon the arrival of the Emergency First Responder, CPR was being performed by neighbours to an elderly male.

The Emergency First Responder advised them to continue, and set up the defibrillator which advised that no shock be given. The Emergency First Responder then took over CPR until the arrival and administration of drugs from ambulance personnel. The CPR resulted in the patient’s heart restarting (known medically as a ROSC - Return of Spontaneous Circulation) prior to the individual being taken to hospital for further treatment.

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