BROADENING RESPONSIBILITIES: CONSIDERATION OF THE POTENTIAL TO BROADEN THE ROLE OF UNIFORMED FIRE SERVICE EMPLOYEES
What is this report about? This report, commissioned by the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Services (NJC), aims to identify what impact, if any, firefighters can have on the delivery of emergency medical response and wider community health interventions in the UK. What are the overall conclusions? Appropriately trained and equipped firefighters co-responding1 to targeted, specific time critical medical events, such as cardiac arrest, can improve patient survival rates. The data also indicate that there is support from fire service staff – and a potential need from members of the public, particularly the elderly, isolated or vulnerable – to expand ‘wider work’. This includes winter warmth assessments, Safe and Well checks, community defibrillator training and client referrals when staff believe someone may have dementia, are vulnerable or even, for example, have substance dependencies such as an alcohol addiction. However, there is currently insufficient data to estimate the net benefit of this work.