Retrained firefighters attend 1,700 call-outs

retrained firefighters attend 1700 call outs - Retrained firefighters attend 1,700 call-outsImage copyright GFRS
Image caption Gloucestershire firefighters have been trained up to staff ambulances during the pandemic

Firefighters retrained to drive ambulances during the coronavirus pandemic have attended more than 1,700 incidents, South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS) says.

Firefighters were retrained in case existing ambulance staff fell sick with Covid-19.

More than 100 firefighters have been trained and will be joined by a further 60 from Avon Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters have also been trained to deliver basic medical care.

Derek McCullough, from SWAS, said fire engine drivers were “used to driving a large red truck at speed”.

‘Less hand-holding’

“We’ve converted that to driving an ambulance safely, smoothly and comfortably under emergency conditions,” he added.

“They can deliver medical care and be first to accidents and incidents so we’ve extended those skills so they can work alongside our emergency care assistants.”

Mark Evans, from Devon and Somerset Fire Service, helped to deliver a baby girl to a first-time mum on Saturday.

“It was a really nice experience and it was lovely to be part of,” he said.

The father-of-two was present at the birth of his two children.

“There was less hand holding and it was interesting seeing it from a different point of view seeing the emotions the couple were going through and also the feeling of being able to help out,” he said.

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