Ambulance service thanks firefighters who have volunteered with them during coronavirus pandemic

Ambulance chiefs have thanked firefighters who have given them 41,500 hours of support during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Firefighters after completing ambulance training.Firefighters after completing ambulance training.
Firefighters after completing ambulance training.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) issued a heartfelt message of thanks to blue light colleagues in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Services who all volunteered firefighters to drive frontline ambulances between April and August, in turn freeing up paramedics to focus on delivering life-saving care to patients.

Together they provided 41,519 hours of support, which is the equivalent of 3,610 12-hour shifts, or enough staff to run 1,805 ambulances.

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The firefighters were already trained to drive on blue lights, but took part in a specially-developed induction before joining EEAST, which included familiarising them with the Trust’s vehicles and equipment and learning basic life support and safe moving and handling skills.

During the past few months, they have helped with everything from delivering babies to responded to road traffic collisions, with many pledging to continue to work with EEAST in the future on projects to further enhance patient care.

Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer with EEAST, said: “We are very grateful to our blue light colleagues in the fire and rescue service for the incredible support they have given us over the past few months. It has been a true demonstration of the emergency services at their best, and saw us come together at the public’s time of need to meet this national emergency head on.

“Our partners in the fire service played a really important role in helping us to keep our patients, staff, volunteers and the wider public safe, and we’d like to say a huge thank you to them for their hard work and dedication.

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“Although shops, pubs and restaurants have now re-opened, we would remind people that coronavirus is still circulating in our communities. Please continue to play your part in helping the NHS by taking extra care of yourself, wearing a face covering where necessary, regularly washing your hands and maintaining social distancing.”

In addition to the fire service, EEAST said it also received support during the pandemic from other partners, including the military, the public and local businesses.