Firefighters could be sent to help save Norfolk cardiac arrest victims
PUBLISHED: 15:39 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:39 31 October 2019
Firefighters could be sent to help people suffering from cardiac arrests, under a new blueprint for the future of Norfolk's fire and rescue service.
The fire service, recently judged to be in need of improvement by watchdogs, wants to explore whether it could play a potentially life-saving role if its vehicles are closer to patients than ambulances are.
The proposal part of a risk management plan the service is drawing up for the next three years, which the public is asked for views on.
The service participated in a national cardiac arrest trial in 2016, where fire crews co-responded with paramedics.
Twenty-two fire crews participated in the pilot from stations in Sprowston, Earlham, Carrow, King's Lynn, Thetford, North Walsham and Sheringham.
The service said: "Outcomes of the pilot were extremely encouraging with examples of crews delivering medical care with paramedics that have achieved cardiopulmonary resuscitation, improving the chances of survival for the patient.
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"Currently, ambulances respond to medical incidents such as cardiac arrests, but we believe if we were nearer to the scene than an ambulance and were able to respond, patients could be treated more quickly and we could help save lives."
Extra money would be needed to pay for that service.
The risk management plan also proposes putting more support to help businesses ensure buildings are safe and to inspect more buildings.
It also wants to look at how the service responds to emergencies, looking at changes in technology, vehicles, equipment and data - but council leaders say they will not be closing fire stations.
Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities at the county council, said: "There are no proposals to close fire stations or cut services and the plans will ensure we enhance community protection, staff are best equipped for modern challenges and that investment is made to provide what is needed to keep our communities safe."
The public is invited to comment at www.norfolk.gov.uk/irmp.
And drop in sessions will be held across the county, starting at Wymondham Library from 11am to 1.30pm on Tuesday, November 5.