Covid-19: Wiltshire firefighters to start driving ambulances

Covid-19: Wiltshire firefighters to start driving ambulances

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 5:51am 15th April 2020.

3 minute read

Our local fire brigade is to help out as the South Western Ambulance Service buys extra vehicles.

Wiltshire's getting two more ambulances, which will be staffed by firefighters trained in emergency response driving and first aid.

That means they'll be able to help out when paramedics are stretched and under pressure, transferring patients to and from hospital alongside clinicians.

They'll also be able to act as first responders, with a paramedic, to some life-threatening calls.

What hasn't been revealed is exactly where the new ambulances will be based.

A36 Stapleford bend (with Ambulance) - Warminster Road 3 (Mike Draper)
Firefighters are set to help out with driving ambulances to relieve pressure on paramedics through Covid-19

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell said: 

"It's good news we have more ambulances coming and I'm grateful to our firefighters for their support. Many of our firefighters are highly trained emergency response drivers, accustomed to dealing with emergency situations and I know they want to help in any way they can during this crisis.

"Agencies are working closely together during the coronavirus outbreak to help keep residents safe, and the collaboration between our fire and rescue service and the ambulance service will ensure our residents get medical care quickly if they need it.

"While we ask the public to stay at home, our firefighters will be able to use their transferable skills to support the ambulance service and the wider community in a variety of challenging roles, so we owe them a debt of gratitude."

Firefighter helmet 2 - Fire Fighter (Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue)
A number of firefighters have already been trained in being a first responder


This is just the latest in a series of extra support that Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue is helping with during the coronavirus outbreak.

They're also doing things like: 

  • Helping to package and deliver food and medication to vulnerable members of the community
  • Helping to construct, fit and train NHS staff in the use of respiratory Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Face-fit testing of PPE for ambulance staff
  • Considering how they can work with local authorities to provide assistance at temporary mortuary sites
Accident and Emergency - A and E - Salisbury District Hospital - Ambulance (Mike Draper)
Wiltshire's due to get two extra ambulances in the county, after investment by South Western Ambulance Service

Derek McCullough from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: 

"We are delighted about this partnership with fire service colleagues across the South West to support our frontline care of patients. We have invested in 15 additional ambulance vehicles, which have now been allocated to this important partnership initiative. 

"The partnership will enable us to make more efficient use of our resources and help us deal with the expected increase in demand over the upcoming weeks. This will mean we are better equipped to reach those patients most in need of our care, and ultimately to save more lives."

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