Cheshire firefighters will be helping to deliver life-saving treatment for cardiac arrest patients in partnership with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) from today (June 6).
Both NWAS and firefighters will respond when a person dials 999 to report a suspected cardiac arrest and whoever reaches the casualty first will begin treatment.
The project will be run as a pilot scheme in Frodsham, Crewe, Holmes Chapel and Warrington initially and will hopefully be extended to all stations in the future.
There will be no change to the system of assigning and sending ambulances and medical staff to emergencies.
The scheme works in a similar way to NWAS’ volunteer Community First Responder scheme, where trained members of the public are dispatched to life-threatening emergency calls within their local community.
NWAS director of operations Ged Blezard said: “This is an extremely positive project and it’s great to work with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service on a scheme that will contribute to saving lives in Cheshire.
“The chances of survival from cardiac arrest diminish rapidly with every passing second so the sooner someone can receive treatment, the greater their chances are of leading a full and healthy life afterwards.
"It doesn’t matter who gives that treatment – whether it is a member of the public, an ambulance crew or a fire crew so the more resources there are available to respond, the better for those who suffer this potentially devastating condition.
“Sadly, despite everyone’s best efforts, not everyone survives a cardiac arrest but everyone deserves that chance and this is what this scheme will give people.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service will be contacted when a suspected cardiac arrest is reported near to one of the response stations.
The added advantage to despatching fire crews is their advanced training and their ability to respond on blue lights, therefore arriving more quickly to a situation where literally every second can mean the difference between life and death.
When acting as First Responders for NWAS, suitably trained and equipped firefighters will give lifesaving medical treatment in the form of CPR and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), stabilising the situation until advanced clinical care is provided by ambulance crews.
They may then continue to assist in providing extra help with CPR, allowing medical staff to focus on more advanced skills and treatment.
Mark Cashin, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy chief fire officer, added: “We have a clear vision of a Cheshire where there are no deaths or injuries from fires or other emergencies and so we are delighted to be embarking on this exciting partnership initiative.
“We understand that with cardiac arrests every second counts and that the training and location of our crews puts us in an ideal position to support our partners in the North West Ambulance Service to deliver this potentially life-saving service.”
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