Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Essex firefighters continue to support ambulance service

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's support for the ambulance service and other partners is continuing during the pandemic with Service instructors the latest to offer their skills.

Paul Smith, Chris Faulkner and Tony Mead, all Driving Instructors at the Service, are teaching non-blue light driving to paramedic students, military personnel and Community First Responders at Writtle College, delivering a series of two-day courses.

Eight students a week will be taught how to drive non-emergency patient transport vehicles to support the East of England Ambulance Service.

The student drivers already hold a valid UK driving licence, so the training is focusing on patient safety and comfort.

Rick Hylton, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said:

“Following our own evaluations we are pleased that to announce that our operational driver training team will start to deliver a series of two-day training programmes over the coming weeks.

“Right from the initial request from the ambulance service, we've seen our colleagues eager to offer their support.

“Our colleagues are continuing to step up during these challenging times and make the service incredibly proud. 

Ambulance drivers and rest break sites 

In addition to this training, the Service is also supporting the East of England Ambulance Service with ambulance drivers and sites for rest breaks.

Seven Service sites are being used by paramedics for welfare and lunch breaks: Corringham, Dovercourt, Grays, Harlow, Orsett, Southend and South Woodham Ferrers.

Nineteen on-call firefighters spent last week blue light driving to incidents and then fetching and carrying items while at the scene.

Since they started on Easter Monday, they have completed more than 1600 hours between themselves, and by the end of 26 April they had worked 132 shifts.

Every two firefighters that complete a shift results in an extra ambulance available for response.  

The job: Mark's experience

Firefighter Mark Webb from Saffron Walden Fire Station is one of the firefighters seconded to East of England Ambulance Service. 

He's been an on-call firefighter in Saffron Walden for 28 years alongside running a data backup and data protection company. He has spent 8 years as a Crew Manager at Saffron Walden Fire Station.

Mark has given an insight into a shift as an ambulance driver. 

Firefighter Mark Webb


Page last updated 29 April

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