62 Norfolk firefighters to work alongside paramedics to respond to 999 calls

62 Norfolk firefighters to work alongside paramedics to respond to 999 calls
Local firefighter Rigil Kent in happier times (Carnival Day)

A total of 62 Norfolk firefighters will be working on the frontline alongside East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) paramedics from this week.

All of the staff are employed as on-call firefighters across Norfolk and responded to a plea by chief fire officer Stuart Ruff to support the NHS during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

All staff put forward to help are already blue light trained Emergency Fire Appliance Drivers (EFAD) with C1 category licences and will drive frontline emergency NHS ambulances alongside EEAST paramedics.

Two of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s driving instructors have also been using one of the service’s non-operational lorries to move NHS supplies around Norfolk to ensure PPE equipment and ventilators are in the right places to support NHS colleagues in their duties.

The move to the frontline work follows a national agreement reached last Friday about utilising firefighters across the country to support the work of the NHS.

Chief Fire Officer Stuart Ruff said: “We were asked to support EEAST and have been in discussions to find out what their needs are and how we can support them, without compromising our own emergency response on the frontline.

“I was pleased to see so many of our staff volunteer their services to our blue light colleagues. We have considered all the offers and at this stage we are able to release 62 of our on-call staff.

“Whilst all of this activity is occurring, we also continue to maintain our core functionality for firefighting and rescue to the public and this will not be compromised.