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MAWWFRS Co-Responder and Defibrillator Capability

20/01/2017 11:00

On Friday, 20th January 2017, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) ran a press event to promote their collaborative partnership with the Welsh Ambulance Service and the Cariad charity to provide Co-Responder and Defibrillator capability.

​For many years, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service have been involved in a joint Co-Responding scheme, that aims to provide the earliest possible response to life-threatening medical emergencies. The first co-responder scheme was introduced in 1998 at Reynoldston Fire Station. Following its success, 18 further locations across mid and west Wales have become co-responder stations with at least a further six stations due to join this year.

Since the introduction of the scheme in 1998, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has attended 22,297 medical emergencies. In 2016 alone, many lives have been saved through their interventions.

The success of the Co Responder scheme has promoted a further initiative whereby Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is equipping all front line fire appliances with automatic defibrillators. Working with the charity Cariad, 78 appliances now have defibrillators on board.

Anthony Hamilton, from the Cariad charity, said:

“The Cariad charity provides lifesaving training and defibrillators to schools and communities across Wales. We are delighted to be working closely with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, providing the Zoll AED Plus defibrillator and training to front line appliances and personnel.

“Shocks from an Automated External Defibrillator should be delivered in less than 4 minutes from collapse to be most effective. It stands to reason that the more defibrillators there are within the communities of Wales, the better the chances of someone recovering from cardiac arrest will be. Placing this equipment on Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service appliances will mean that Fire Service personnel will now be in a position to offer lifesaving resources to the public when best situated to do so.

"We would like to thank Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service for the commitment and support they have given to Cariad. It is clear to see how this project has and will continue to help save lives within our communities.”

Rob Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, added:

“As the role of the Fire Service diversifies and evolves to cater to a wide range of scenarios, so too must our ability to respond to them. While we continue to work closely with our fellow emergency services, our central placement within communities often means that we can get to the scene first and are required to respond to casualties with medical conditions, such as cardiac arrest.

 “Primary responsibility for responding to medical emergencies lies with the Ambulance Service, these initiatives in no way replace these services, but rather enhance them in a practical way by making good use of medically trained and suitably equipped firefighters, who are often closer to the scene of an incident than Ambulance crews. Whilst firefighters will provide an initial response to certain categories of call, Ambulance crews will also be mobilised to these calls, taking over from the firefighters when they arrive".

Stephen Roberts, First Responder Officer at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said:

“Our colleagues at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service play an important role alongside frontline ambulance staff in making sure patients get appropriate help quickly and efficiently, and they’re very much part of the Welsh Ambulance Service family. Every second counts in an emergency and the fact that all fire appliances in Mid and West Wales now carry a defibrillator means we are able to give people the absolute best chance of survival.”