PILOT SCHEME: Lancashire fire crews to double up as paramedics

Rescue: Firefighters free Saira Khalid from crash vehicle in Regent Drive, Fulwood

Rescue: Firefighters free Saira Khalid from crash vehicle in Regent Drive, Fulwood

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A pilot scheme will see some Lancashire firefighters double up as paramedics.

Emergency service bosses plan to run a ‘first responder’ project in Morecambe and Ormskirk for six months.

Fire crews will be sent to certain medical emergencies if they can get there quicker than an ambulance. An ambulance would also be sent at the same time and would treat the patient when they arrive.

It is a joint pilot with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).

The whole team will be involved in the response but not everyone on the crew will have to deliver treatment. Fire crews will be used in the same way that NWAS uses its network of Community First Responders.

If the project is deemed a success it could be rolled out across the county and made permanent. A start date has not been confirmed.

Last summer ambulance delays meant a driver hurt in a crash was taken to hospital by fire engine after waiting 90 minutes for an ambulance which never came.

Saira Khalid was cut free from the wreckage of her BMW and placed on the engine’s floor on a spinal stretcher for the one-mile journey to Royal Preston Hospital.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy chief fire officer Justin Johnson said: “If someone suffers a heart attack, we want them to get the response they need to survive as quickly as possible, knowing that they won’t be concerned what uniform the person they first see on coming round is wearing.”

A NWAS spokesman said: “We are very pleased to be part of this pilot project which will see us work even closer with the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) to the benefit of our patients.”