A Scottish trial – including Hawick Fire Station – aimed at increasing the survival rate of patients who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests went live this week.
The trial, involving Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), will run at seven stations, including Hawick, Lauder and Coldstream.
Firefighters at these stations have received enhanced training in life-support, through a joint partnership approach with the Scottish Ambulance Service to create a nation of life-savers.
The trials are part of SFRS’s commitment to supporting the Scottish Government’s Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy, which aims to dramatically increase patients’ survival chances and save as many as 1,000 lives by 2020.
SFRS recently announced a pioneering partnership with the British Heart Foundation which saw CPR kits donated to all 356 of Scotland’s fire stations. These stations will serve as bases for members of the public to visit and learn life-saving skills using a self-teach DVD and manikin.
Each year, almost 3,500 people, of the two million patients who receive ambulance care in the country, undergo attempted resuscitation after suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Fewer than one in 20 survive to be discharged from hospital – far below the one-third of patients in Scandinavia who survive to return home. However, by targeting them with more ambulance crews and additional training, the Scottish Ambulance Service has recently achieved a ten per cent increase in the number of people suffering cardiac arrest being successfully resuscitated at scene.
SFRS Chief Officer Alasdair Hay described said: “Time is absolutely crucial to the chances of survival and we have been exploring with the Scottish Ambulance Service how we can support it in responding to out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.
“There are more than 350 fire stations across Scotland and many of these are in rural and remote communities where a paramedic could be a considerable distance away. Our retained and volunteer crews live and work within five to eight minutes of their stations, meaning they may be able to provide a faster response when emergencies arise.”