London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe says drafting 185 firefighters to drive ambulances shows the Brigade continues to be ready, willing and able to do everything possible to combat Covid-19.
London firefighters have once again stepped up to assist London Ambulance Service (LAS) to boost their emergency response as Covid-19 infection rates have sharply increased in the capital. Today 125 firefighters are helping the LAS with a further 60 set to be trained and dispatched next week.
An arrangement was originally put in place in April 2020, since then firefighters have now responded to 100,000 incidents whilst driving ambulances with the LAS.
The most recent arrangement, put in place over Christmas, has seen over 100 firefighters volunteer to drive ambulances as LAS face one of the busiest times in their history. Fire crews are assisting paramedics get urgent treatment to Londoners just like they did during the height of the first phase of the pandemic.
Just like the joint collaboration in April, this extra support has been agreed nationally between the National Employers, National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Brigades Union and recognises the need to support local authorities and the NHS, including ambulance services.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“On behalf of all Londoners, I want to thank our hardworking firefighters for continuing to work tirelessly during the pandemic to keep Londoners safe. We are incredibly grateful to those from the London Fire Brigade who have volunteered to drive ambulances with the London Ambulance Service.
“The situation with the virus in London is extremely serious. In the midst of the biggest public health crisis we have seen in our lifetime, the Brigade has stepped up to support our blue light services when they are under immense pressure. Our firefighters have shown once again that our frontline heroes are the very best of us.”
London Fire Brigade Commissioner Andy Roe said:
“We’re ready, willing and able to support the national fight in combating Covid-19. At this crucial stage in the pandemic firefighters have once again volunteered to step up to support a joint emergency response to Covid-19. The arrangement will help keep ambulances on the road and get vital care to those who most need it.
“It makes me very proud to see so many firefighters eager to step up and volunteer at such a challenging time. Since April 100,000 incidents got an ambulance sooner because we’ve been assisting the London Ambulance Service.”
Having been trained by London Ambulance Service clinicians in basic life-saving skills as part of the training programme all firefighters receive and already holding qualifications to drive emergency vehicles on blue lights, each London firefighter who has volunteered to help us will be trained and ready to support our skilled paramedics on the road in a day.
To be eligible, London Fire Brigade volunteers will hold the following qualifications:
Emergency Fire Appliance Driver (EFAD)
Immediate Emergency Care (IEC)
Tasks firefighters may well undertake whilst volunteering include using their blue light driving experience to help drive ambulances alongside paramedics or using their existing first aid skills to help administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and a use a defibrillator when responding to patients in cardiac arrest.
While carrying out their duties, firefighters will wear their LFB workwear and be provided with additional personal protective equipment, including face masks, gloves and eye protection.