Firefighters to drive ambulances during coronavirus pandemic

Firefighter Matt Dennington PICTURE: Cambridgeshire Fire

Firefighter Matt Dennington PICTURE: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Services - Credit: Archant

Firefighters in the county will be driving ambulances to assist frontline colleagues.

On call firefighters PICTURE; Cambridge

On call firefighters PICTURE; Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Services - Credit: Archant

Nine on-call firefighters from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service are stepping in to support the East of England Ambulance Service.

The ambulance service is facing a high demand for their services during the coronavirus pandemic and as a result the on-call firefighters will temporarily be helping them.

The on-call firefighters have received their training and will be using their skill as blue-light trained drivers to assist in driving frontline emergency NHS ambulances alongside EEAST paramedics.

Assistant chief fire officer, Jon Anderson said: “Working together and supporting our emergency services colleagues has never been so important.

“As a service, we are committed to doing everything we can to help keep our communities in Cambridgeshire safe.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve been working closely with EEAST to understand more about their needs how we can assist them through the pandemic.

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“We have set up a virtual crewing hub in the eastern region, with representatives from all six services working together to support our ambulance service.

“It’s no surprise that so many of our staff have been volunteering their services for our partners and their communities.

“We’re thankful we are able to offer our help, without compromising our own emergency response to the public.”

Utilising firefighters across the country to support the work of the NHS is part of a national agreement.

A wholetime firefighter from St Neots has also been seconded to EEAST, he temporarily returns to work as a paramedic, a role he did before becoming a firefighter in 2018.

Marcus Bailey, chief operating officer with EEAST, said: “We are very grateful to our blue light colleagues in the fire and rescue service and look forward to working closely with them to keep our patients, staff, volunteers and the wider public safe during this pandemic.

“Covid-19 represents an unprecedented challenge for all of us and we truly appreciate the fantastic support we have received from the fire service, the public, businesses and our other partners.

“We would urge people to continue to play their part in helping the NHS by taking extra care of themselves, only going out for essential items, observing advice about hand-washing and maintaining social distancing.”