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On-call firefighters at Skelmanthorpe will soon be responding to life-threatening emergency calls at the same time as an ambulance crew.
West Yorkshire’s first Emergency First Responder (EFR) scheme has been launched in Skelmanthorpe along with stations with Featherstone and Ilkley.
The pilot scheme is a joint initiative between Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) and West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (WYFRS).
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Skelmanthorpe became the first station to go live this week, with Featherstone and Ilkley becoming operational in March.
Each EFR has been trained in basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy.
They are equipped with a kit which includes oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.
An EFR will be dispatched at the same time as an ambulance and will not replace the usual emergency medical response from YAS.
However, their location within local communities could mean they are nearer to the scene in those first critical minutes of a medical emergency, delivering life-saving care until an ambulance clinician arrives.
Emergency First Responders are only available for dispatch when staffing levels at their fire station allow and the scheme will not have an adverse impact on fire cover.
The scheme will be closely monitored throughout the pilot and fully evaluated prior to any decisions being made about its long-term future.
Kirklees councillor Judith Hughes, who chairs the Fire Authority, said: “We are delighted to see this pilot scheme launched and we are eager to see the benefits it could bring.
“Ultimately, our firefighters joined the emergency services to save as many lives as possible and this scheme has the potential to help them do just that, whilst assisting our blue light partners also.”