Brigade joins ambos in an emergency
Fire crews are responding to more medical emergencies.
The fire service now routinely co-responds with ambulances to immediate, life-threatening incidents like heart attacks and respiratory arrests.
In the past they were only required to attend if a unit was close or had equipment that was needed.
St John and the fire service have had a memorandum of understanding ( MOU) to support each other since 2005.
It is under review and in December it was decided that fire crews would attend all of the most critical calls while the process is completed.
‘‘Over the past year the New Zealand Fire Service and St John have been rethinking the way they respond to medical emergencies to ensure the best response for patients,’’ St John head of planning and service development Peter Tranter says.
‘‘[The fire service] is able to provide early CPR or defibrillation in advance of St John personnel arriving and may be an extra resource at the scene after that.’’
Crews aren’t expected to do any complex patient assessments or transport people.
Auckland City Area fire crews would normally attend an average of 214 medical emergency and res- cue calls in the year from July to June. That number is on the rise and crews have already attended 206 calls since last June.
St John gets about 314 emergency call-outs in Auckland each day.
‘‘We have over 430 fire stations around the country, many of which will be closer to the emergency than an ambulance, so it makes sense for a fire appliance to co-respond,’’ MOU project leader and Auckland and Northland Fire Region manager Brian Butt says.
Many crews have always operated this way, Mr Butt says.
‘‘At the end of the day we’re not just a fire service anymore, we are Since June last year Auckland City Area fire crews have attended:
2304 false alarms. These equate to 59 per cent of call-outs and can often be because alarms on commercial premises have gone off for no reason an emergency service and we get sent to all kinds of events. It’s just amazing some of the things our people get involved in. If we can save a life we’re happy to help.’’ 791 fires 315 hazardous emergencies 215 special services calls. These are incidents that are not fire related like animal rescues and calls for assistance from police
38 natural disasters
The MOU is being reviewed to make the fire service response to medical emergencies more consistent throughout the country and expand it.
Working together: A change to an agreement between St John and the New Zealand Fire Service means fire crews are assisting ambulance officers with more medical calls.