Blue light colleagues join EEAST’s bank

Suffolk Fire training

Blue light colleagues who joined our crews to drive emergency vehicles during the height of the coronavirus pandemic will be returning to EEAST this weekend to fulfil brand new positions on our bank.

Around 105 firefighters from across all six counties have signed up as non-clinical emergency drivers, which will free up clinicians to focus on delivering life-saving care to patients. A total of 80 will join the Trust from this bank holiday weekend, with the remainder following during September to provide extra flexibility into the winter.

The firefighters are already experienced at working alongside our crews after providing more than 41,500 hours of voluntary support to EEAST earlier this year, which is the equivalent of 3,610 12-hour shifts, or enough staff to run 1,805 ambulances.

They have received additional training to help them fulfil the new role, including basic life support, using a defibrillator and offering support with intubation.

Tom Barker, community response manager for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and West Essex, helped to establish the new post. He said: “We are very grateful to our blue light colleagues in the fire and rescue service for the incredible support they gave us earlier this year.

“The feedback from both the firefighters who volunteered and from our crews was overwhelmingly positive, so we are delighted that we are now in a position to welcome them back as part of the bank.

“The firefighters will provide us with an all-important extra resource as we head into the winter, giving us more flexibility in our workforce when demand is expected to rise.”

Published 27th August 2020

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