A Victorian Fire Service Ambulance Victoria co-responder initiative aimed at increasing potentially life-saving medical assistance at the scene of emergency incidents has been expanded.
CFA firefighters from Ballarat City Fire Station and Lucas Fire Station have joined the 28 CFA brigades already providing emergency medical response (EMR).
EMR is a co-responder program designed to boost cardiac arrest victims’ chances of survival – helping to protect more Victorian lives by responding to life-threatening medical emergencies alongside Ambulance Victoria paramedics.
The expansion of this program to all CFA integrated stations is an election commitment from the State Government who provided funding to implement the EMR program to all CFA’s integrated brigades over a three year period which commenced in 2016.
CFA District 15 Operations Manager Brett Boatman said the program sees firefighters and paramedics dispatched at the same to assist in life threatening medical emergencies.
Firefighters will respond simultaneously with the nearest ambulance to help unconscious patients and patients who are not breathing by providing access to life-saving emergency care.
“We do a lot more than fight fires, and going online with EMR in Ballarat and the surrounding area will enable better coverage for the community,” Mr Boatman said.
“It’s about us working in conjunction with the ambulance. Training started about three months ago, and that has been ongoing and all of our staff at Ballarat and Lucas are now trained and skilled up to do the EMR work.
“The equipment and technology is in place to do that and we been working closely with the ambulance with implementation.” Ambulance Victoria Chief Executive Officer Tony Walker said the program was the result of a successful pilot and was already well-established at the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
“In a cardiac arrest, what you do before emergency services arrive can greatly improve the chance of someone’s survival,” Mr Walker said.
“Call Triple Zero for assistance and listen carefully to the call taker who can provide instructions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Any CPR is better than no CPR.
“Early CPR provides blood flow to a person’s brain and vital organs, and means they have a better chance of survival when medical help arrives.