Air ambulance and fire crews aid paramedics during pandemic

Fire and air ambulance crews are helping paramedics during the coronavirus crisis.

Fire and air ambulance crews are helping paramedics during the coronavirus crisis. - Credit: Archant

The air ambulance and fire service are providing additional support to paramedics during the pandemic.

Great Western Air Ambulance. Picture: GWAAC

Great Western Air Ambulance. Picture: GWAAC - Credit: Archant

Firefighters from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) are assisting teams from South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) by driving ambulances, while the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) are providing specialist paramedics to assist in transferring critically ill Covid-19 patients between hospitals in the region.

Fifteen dual-crewed ambulances will serve the South West with five allocated to Devon and Somerset, and the rest serving Cornwall, Dorset and Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset, and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Services.

Lee Howell, chief fire officer at DSFRS said: “We are happy to be able to help our colleagues at the ambulance service when they need it most.

“We already have a strong working relationship and have been co-responding to medical emergencies from a number of our fire stations for over 20 years.

“Given the likely increase in demand on the NHS as a result of Covid-19, we will working even more closely with our ambulance service colleagues to do all we can to help best protect the communities we serve”.

Derek McCullough, SWASFT interoperable capabilities officer, said: “We are delighted about this partnership with fire service colleagues across the South West to support our frontline care of patients.

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“We have invested in 15 additional ambulance vehicles, which have now been allocated to this important initiative.

“The partnership will enable us to make more efficient use of our resources, and help us deal with the expected increase in demand over the upcoming weeks. This will mean we are better equipped to reach those patients most in need of our care, and save more lives.”

Anna Perry, chief executive at GWAAC added: “Our team are doing a fantastic job and by loaning our crew with specialist skills and state of the art equipment, we are taking swift action in the best interests of patients across our region.

“I want to thank our critical care team who remain on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19, standing ready to support our communities. We all need to do our bit, to reduce pressure on services – by staying at home where possible.”