Norfolk fire crews can break into homes to ensure patients will get help
- Credit: Archant 2013
Fire personnel will force entry to homes of patients if ambulance staff are unable to get access under a new partnership.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust have teamed up to launch the Concern for Safety pilot programme, which aims to take pressure off Norfolk p olice.
Roy Harold, chief fire officer, said: 'There's an excellent, close relationship between the 'blue light' services in Norfolk and the initiative has the potential to build on that success.'
Fire service staff have better equipment and training to force entry into residents' homes, and will be able to provide trauma care if they arrive before the ambulance service.
Brett Norton, senior emergency operations centre manager for the ambulance trust, said: 'We already work closely with our colleagues within the other 999 services and, on occasion, we require assistance to force entry to a property to help a sick or injured patient.
'The fire service are prepared with all the appropriate equipment to do this safely and are often able to provide a quick response to support our ambulance crews and the patient.
'This is an extension of our close working relationship with the fire service and police.'
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Paul Seaman, project lead for the fire service, said, 'A great deal of effort has gone into building relationships with our partner emergency services to find ways of improving patient outcome and at the same time drive efficiencies in new ways of working.
'We will measure the success of this pilot carefully so that further improvements can be made if adopted for the future.'
Insp Keith Philpot, of Norfolk police, said, 'This is an excellent example of how the blue light services are thinking and working differently to more efficiently manage public demand.
'This initiative allows appropriately trained and equipped firefighters to attend and assess concern for safety requests thereby allowing police officers to focus on other emergencies.
'We therefore welcome this new approach.'
The pilot will run until April 11.