Fire crews from Long Sutton took a patient to hospital within hours of starting work on the county’s first ever “fire ambulance” on Wednesday.
The year-long Joint Ambulance Conveyance Project will see firefighters at three county fire stations working alongside EMAS (East Midlands Ambulance Service) and LIVES (Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service) to boost the “quality of service and outcomes” for patients.
Firefighters in Woodhall Spa are expected to get their fire ambulance next month and crews in Stamford will get theirs by early November.
The project launched as figures revealed that the already poor 999 ambulance service in the South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group – which includes South Holland and Stamford – is getting worse.
Ambulance crews are meant to get to 75 per cent of all life-threatening calls within eight minutes.
But life-threatening call response times where a defibrillator is needed fell from 66.41 per cent to 64.55 in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
And life-threatening calls response times that didn’t need a defibrillator fell from 69.79 per cent to 67.83 per cent.
The fire ambulance project builds on the work of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s existing co-responder scheme in which on-call firefighters from 21 stations, including Long Sutton, respond to medical emergencies to deliver first aid, provide oxygen therapy and administer defibrillation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Long Sutton Fire Station watch manager Richard King said: “The crew are fully on board with this pilot.
“By getting a patient to hospital faster, we can really help those who are in a life-threatening condition and increase their chance of survival.
“We have received additional medical training in preparation for the pilot which has further developed our skills.
“These can potentially be applied at every incident we attend.”