Volunteers from the Fire Service, who have been appropriately trained, will be attending the homes of people who have fallen and are not injured, using inflatable lifting equipment to help patients who simply require some assistance in getting back on their feet.
Launched in Leeds on Friday (May 15), the new scheme supports ambulance staff who are dealing with the current Covid-19 crisis by offering an alternative response to this kind of call-out.
YAS will still receive the initial call for assistance and its trained staff will assess each case to ensure that only appropriate patients are passed to the volunteer WYFRS team. Contact will be maintained with a Clinical Advisor in the YAS Emergency Operations Centre enabling additional ambulance resources to be deployed if necessary.
Leeds District Commander Andy Farrell said: “Firstly, I would like to thank the WYFRS staff volunteers and the District Team who have helped develop this initiative to support Leeds Public Health and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
“The purpose of this initiative is to provide an alternative response to support vulnerable people who may have fallen in the home. These temporary response arrangements have commenced and we will continue to monitor the arrangements during the Covid-19 crisis.”
The fire service already offers education and advice on falls prevention as part of the current Safe and Well home visits.
Kathryn Richardson, Leeds District Prevention Manager, added: “We really wanted to be able to help in any way we can and this is a natural fit to the work we already undertake in falls prevention.
“The fire service volunteers will be working in pairs, having had training provided by YAS, and will have full personal protective equipment. They will be responding from Leeds Fire Station in a fire service marked vehicle, without flashing blue lights and they will abide by normal road rules.
“This is not our everyday work but in these difficult times we must adapt and offer our services to support the fantastic work of our colleagues in the Ambulance Service and the wider NHS.”
Dr Steven Dykes, Deputy Medical Director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “This is a great example of partnership working with our fire service colleagues. The initiative will benefit residents in the Leeds area by providing an appropriate response for our patients who have fallen but are not injured and simply need help up from the floor.”