London Fire Brigade

Lewisham firefighters get new life saving equipment

01 March 2010

Fire crews in Lewisham are better prepared than ever to treat casualties at incidents, after being kitted out with life saving emergency care packs. The new gear, called Immediate Emergency Care equipment, will be carried in a specially designed backpack on all fire engines at Lewisham fire stations.

London Fire Brigade’s Borough Commander for Lewisham, Lee King, said: “This new first aid equipment means that firefighters will be able to treat casualties who need urgent medical care until paramedics can take over. This could certainly increase the chance of a casualty surviving”.

The IEC kit includes defibrillators, which are electronic devices used to establish a normal heartbeat, as well as other new items such as manual suction devices to clear blocked airways, stiff-neck collars, improved wound dressings and airway adjuncts, which help to maintain a clear airway in unconscious patients.

The kit will be used when firefighters attend an incident that prevents early access for paramedics, such as blocked access or unsafe structures, or where fire crews are the first emergency service on the scene. It also allows firefighters to look after each other if the need to provide emergency treatment arises.

The Brigade worked in partnership with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to develop the training package for firefighters. This means fire crews will be able to provide emergency treatment to casualties to the exacting standards prescribed by the LAS.
                                                           
David Campbell, Ambulance Operations Manager for Lewisham borough said: “David Campbell, Ambulance Operations Manager for Lewisham borough said: “The London Ambulance Service is getting to more patients more quickly than ever before, but in these situations every second is vital so having first aid equipment available on fire brigade vehicles is excellent news for people in Lewisham.

“For example staring resuscitation while an ambulance is on the way can double a person’s chance of survival and being able to use a defibrillator to restart their heart can further increase their chances by more than a third.”

Notes to editors:

The delivery of the IEC programme started in September 2007 and full uptake across all of the Brigade’s 112 fire stations will be achieved by 2011. All 5600 station based operational personnel, up to, and including, watch manager B level, are receiving training in IEC.

So far around 3680 staff have received the training, which is around 77% of the operational workforce of the Brigade.

There are 32 London Boroughs, plus the City of London, and firefighters from 19 of these boroughs have now been trained, adding 119 IEC packs containing defibrillators to fire appliances.