Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Fire Service helps make almost 700 ambulances available during pandemic

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has been working with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust during the pandemic, helping to make 696 ambulances available during the pandemic.

During the last 12 weeks, on-call firefighters from the Service have given 8,350 hours and have responded to an average of 4175 emergency calls.

On Easter Monday, 19 on-call firefighters began their shifts as ambulance drivers with the Ambulance Service as part of an eight-week partnership.

The partnership was extended until 8 July with 11 on-call firefighters continuing their role in driving ambulances and the other firefighters returning to fire stations across Essex.

The firefighters have attended a variety of incidents since Easter Monday to support the public in their hour of need. They’ve even helped to welcome some of Essex’s newest residents, with four babies brought into the world with the help of firefighters.

Jo Turton, Chief Fire Officer/ Chief Executive said:

“Our partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust has been invaluable not only to the people of Essex but to us as a Fire Service. Our on-call firefighters have learned a range of new skills that will enhance their careers and their experiences with paramedics will help us work closer with our ambulance colleagues in the future.

“My thanks go to everyone who has helped to make this partnership work successfully and to our 19 on-call firefighters for the staggering amount of hours they’ve given to help make Essex safer.

“While this partnership has come to an end, our close working relationship with EEAST colleagues will remain and I look forward to seeing how we can collaborate in the future.”

Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer at EEAST, said:

"We are very grateful to our colleagues in the fire and rescue service for their help during the pandemic.

“The support they have provided us has been invaluable and has helped keep our patients, staff, volunteers and the wider public safe during this challenging time."

The partnership came to an end earlier this week and some of the on-call firefighters have reflected on their time as ambulance drivers.

Justin Knopp is a printer who has been an on-call firefighter at Coggeshall Fire Station for 11 years and has been driving ambulances during the pandemic.

Justin (pictured above, top left) said:

“I’ve enjoyed the experience and feel like I’ve learnt a lot from our ambulance colleagues who have been really kind and willing to let me get stuck in. I am hoping that both ECFRS and EEAST can continue the collaboration and build on it. I’m really proud to have been part of this.

“Mental health crisis calls have been some of the more challenging incidents as well as cardiac arrests and paediatric medical emergencies.

“I’ve really enjoyed the experience, the paramedics have been an amazing bunch of people to work alongside, they’ve been very accommodating and great mentors.”

Trevor Garrod is a traffic enforcement officer at Stansted Airport who has been an on-call firefighter at Braintree Fire Station for 18 years, he has been driving ambulances during the pandemic.

Trevor (pictured above, top right) said:

“I have had one of the most amazing experiences and have worked with some amazing people. I’ve made some new friends and am really grateful for the opportunity to work with the ambulance service.

“It’s been a real eye opener, I have really thoroughly enjoyed it. My colleagues have all been really friendly and welcoming. They took the time, when we had time, to go through things and explain things properly.

“One of the most standout incidents was helping a stroke patient to hospital and later transferring him to another hospital where we watched the team carry out a procedure to help him.  A couple of days later, we spoke to the stroke nurse and she said he was walking around and doing well, which was really great news.”


Could you be an on-call firefighter?

On-call firefighters live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station and are paid to protect their local community.

To find out more about the role and how you can apply, visit: join.essex-fire.gov.uk/on-call

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