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Hampshire firefighters start driving ambulances during coronavirus outbreak

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Hampshire firefighters start driving ambulances during coronavirus outbreak

Published by Grace Mcgachy at 6:07pm 30th April 2020. (Updated at 6:15am 1st May 2020)

Hampshire's ambulance service is now being supported by fire crews. 

Hampshire firefighters started in their new roles as ambulance drivers for the South Central Ambulance Service this week. 

They have been teamed up with clinicians who will make all medical decisions and act upon them. 

The firefighters have received training to support them with these additional activities.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has been partnered with the South Central Ambulance Service for over 14 years and has previously seen firefighters using dedicated emergency medical response vehicles. 

Assistant Director of Operations, Rob Cole, said fire crews already have many of the skills required for the job: 

“Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service stand ready and able to help and support our partners across the Local Resilience Forum and communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“This partnership approach makes use of the firefighters’ professional capabilities around driving vehicles, usually fire appliances, on blue lights, and their existing immediate emergency care medical skills”

“We are proud of the hard work and professionalism of our amazing crews and staff helping to make life safer in any way we can.

“We already work closely with partners and unions and we welcome this agreement needed to deal with these unprecedented circumstances."

Head of Operations for Community Engagement & Training at South Central Ambulance Service, Nic Dunbar, said the two services are used to working together:

“The skills that firefighters bring with them and their experiences of dealing with emergency services make them ideal to support us during the response to COVID-19.

"This support enables us to maintain the best possible service during a peak in demand and staff sickness levels.”