HM Fire Service Inspectorate praises SFRS's life saving Aberdeenshire scheme

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The 'Co-Responder' scheme operating in Maud and Braemar has been hailed a "beacon" for others to follow


A new Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate report has hailed Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s life-saving First Responder scheme as a “beacon,” for others to follow.

The ‘Co-Responder’ scheme at Maud fire station allows retained firefighters to provide a quick fire response to assist their colleagues in the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The team of retained firefighters from the Aberdeenshire town have received lavish praise for their assistance at the scene of medical emergencies. The scheme is also operating in Braemar.

The main difference between the standard first aid training firefighters receive and the additional responder training is the fact they are trained to use defibrillators. The team has dealt with an average of 50 medical calls in each of the past three years.

Watch manager at Maud Community Fire Station, Mark Kindness, said: “The guys volunteered to take part and run this scheme and it’s been very successful. For them it was all about making a real difference in the community and I am delighted it’s been well received.

“Our co-responder car is quite basic, but it’s mainly down to the confidence of the guys, getting to patients as quick as we can, calming them down and providing the basic life-saving care.”

“We mainly attend incidents involving people with difficulties breathing, strokes, heart attacks and unconsciousness and we receive training from the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“We are assessed by them on a regular basis to make sure our skills are up to the required standard.”

The Maud station first responder car is equipped with a defibrillator and in such rural and remote settings their ability to use this equipment could save lives.

SFRS’s Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray David Rout applauds the work of staff at Maud and Braemar and welcomes the opportunities presented in the HMFSI report.

He said: “It is pleasing to read the acknowledgement our staff is given in the report and more importantly the very important service they deliver to their local community.

“Without doubt the key area of best practice is the positive impact the scheme has on the local communities by providing evidence based improved patient outcomes, improved knowledge and skills base of staff and dedication to community and community reassurance.”

Since its inception in 2009 the legacy Grampian Fire and Rescue Service entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Scottish Ambulance Service to set up a formal Co-responder Scheme in Maud, Aberdeenshire.

The scheme allows staff to respond to medical calls in their station area providing rapid medical intervention and life-saving skills until an ambulance arrives.

Over the last three years, Maud responded on average to over 50 calls to medical emergencies each year – around half their total number of calls.

Maud currently has five members of staff of its total compliment of 10 trained as co-responders who provide an on-call rota and this is managed together with the fire and rescue part of their responsibilities. Braemar is in a similar position. Staff at Maud and Braemar are committed to delivering the scheme as they see real benefits to the local community in which they live and work.

Councillor Lenny Pirie said: “I’m delighted that the staff at Maud fire station have had their excellent work recognised in this way.

“This is a vital service to the communities in Central Buchan and I congratulate the staff on this very positive report.”

Councillor Jim Ingram commented: “The staff and the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service are to be commended for this visionary approach to keeping our communities safe.”

Additional Information

LSO David Rout was appointed as delegated Project lead for Medical Emergencies in SFRS including Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest. This relates to the continuation of work as part of the findings of HMFSI report.