Two firefighters normally based at Kings Langley Fire Station have recently returned to firefighting duties following a lengthy secondment to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).
Firefighter Spencer Edwards and Crew Commander George Tucker were seconded to EEAST during the recent pandemic to help increase the number of frontline ambulances available for 999 emergency calls.
The rationale behind the move was that rather than having two qualified medics on each ambulance, a qualified medic and a firefighter driver enabled more ambulances to be deployed.
All firefighters are trained in trauma care and emergency life support, so were able to bring more than just their blue light driving skills to the endeavour.
Obviously, the firefighters’ enthusiasm to get involved and help, along with a willingness to learn new skills, helped ensure the arrangement’s success.
In total, 16 firefighters from across Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue swapped driving a fire engine for an ambulance.
George and Spencer were based at Watford Ambulance Station working 12-hour shifts, either days or nights, 6 till 6.
Over the period of the secondment the pair worked 42 shifts each, totalling over 1000 hours of ambulance driving, answering nearly 300 emergency calls between them. In addition to the patients helped as a result of their work, one slightly confused hedgehog was rescued.
Both George and Spencer said they would volunteer again if necessary.
Spencer said: “I don’t think any of us was entirely sure what we were getting ourselves into when we volunteered, but it was really satisfying to help out and work with such a great bunch of people. I think we’d all go back tomorrow if we were needed”