Pioneering firefighters in Long Sutton are on course to have answered 2,000 calls this year as part of an emergency response partnership with ambulancemen.
A crew of just nine on-call or retained firefighters based at Long Sutton Fire Station, in Station Road, responded to more than 900 callouts alongside paramedics last year.
The Joint Ambulance Conveyance Project (JACP), a partnership between Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), was launched in September 2014 as a way of respoding more quickly to patients.
Richard King, Watch Manager at Long Sutton Fire Station, said: “When I first started here almost 25 years ago, we received between 120 and 150 calls a year and we had a full crew.
“However, we now have nine crew who all have full-time jobs and family commitments.
“In the first year of the JACP, we had about 650 calls and last year we had 750 calls.
“It was a very difficult year for us in 2016 and we had to put a lot of commitment into it.
“But the guys are still keen to advance to the next level and we’re exploring other avenues in order to extend the project a little bit more.”
At its launch, the JACP was funded by a £491,000 grant from the Department of Communities and Local Goverment and a deal to expand the service to more fire stations was done by Lincolnshire County Council last September.
Coun Jack Tyrrell, South Holland District Council member for Long Sutton, said: “I’m glad that Richard King fought so hard to get an ambulance based at Long Sutton Fire Station as they put themselves out for the good of the town.
It was a very difficult year for us in 2016 but the guys are still keen to advance to the next level and we’re exploring other avenues in order to extend the project a little bit moreRichard King, Watch Manager at Long Sutton Fire Station
“I’m really pleased that we have a good emergency service now as I know how busy firefighters in Long Sutton are and the JACP has boosted them.”
Coun Chris Brewis, a member of Lincolnshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee and county councillor for Sutton Elloe, said: “I am enormously proud of the sterling efforts which Richard and his team of retained firefighters have put in, especially since the JACP was launched.
“I have noted first-hand the speed of response and I am certain there are people who are alive today thanks to the scheme and the wonderful way that Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue responds to varied emergencies.
“The whole community, both locally and further afield, owes them all a great debt of gratitude.”
More retained firefighters are needed at Long Sutton Fire Station and anyone interested should call Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue on 0800 358 0204.