Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Fire Service gives 4,000 hours to drive ambulances

Nineteen Essex County Fire and Rescue Service firefighters have worked alongside the East of England Ambulance Service to protect Essex residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The firefighters started their first shifts on Easter Monday and as they begin their sixth week, the team has worked almost 4,000 hours helping the Ambulance Service respond to an average of 1,970 calls.

While attending a variety of incidents over the last five weeks to help people in their hour of need, there have been some highs and lows for the crews. Two firefighters helped to welcome baby boys into the world during their shifts.

Adriaan Phillipsen, an on-call firefighter at FrInton Fire Station said: "Being able to bring a little bit of joy in to the world in this time of uncertainty and sadness is a great experience.

"The role of ambulance driver has been really eye-opening and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been crewed with a different paramedic each time and it’s interesting to see the different ways that people work. I've learned a lot so far."

As well as driving ambulances, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has also helped to teach people to become non-emergency ambulance drivers.

Paul Smith, Chris Faulkner and Tony Mead, all Driving Instructors at the Service, have taught 27 non-blue light driving to paramedic students, military personnel and Community First Responders at Writtle College, after delivering a series of two-day courses.

Jo Turton, Chief Fire Officer/ Chief Executive said:

“The work that our colleagues driving ambulances are doing is incredible, and they are doing both themselves and our Service really proud. We are getting some fantastic feedback about the difference that they’re making.

“The training from our driving instructors has meant that there are now 27 more ambulance drivers across Essex, which is just fantastic for our public, and fantastic that we can support in this way."

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. 

Page last updated 19 May, 2020

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