We work closely with our blue light colleagues in Bedfordshire Police and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), as well as our local authority colleagues in Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Luton Borough Council.
We view collaboration as an opportunity to reduce costs and improve services to the public, so we continue to explore new opportunities to work together through the Blue Light Collaboration Strategic Board, chaired jointly by the Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Deputy Chief Constable.
We also work in partnership with other fire and rescue services on both front line and support services, such as our shared strategic operational command arrangements and shared Information and Communications Technology (ICT) service with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service. These arrangements have not only improved services but allowed the Authority to make efficiency savings.
Currently Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are collaborating with Bedfordshire Police and EEAST on a number of projects. These include:
- Co-locating police officers and community support officers at Ampthill, Bedford, Leighton Buzzard, and Toddington community fire stations
- Co-locating paramedics at Dunstable, Luton, Sandy, Shefford, Stopsley and Bedford community fire stations
- Assisting Bedfordshire Police with searches for vulnerable missing persons
- Assisting paramedics to gain entry to premises where there is suspected risk to life of the occupant
We came together with EEAST in April 2020 providing over 30 seconded firefighters to drive ambulances across Bedfordshire keeping more ambulances on the road. It was important for BFRS during the COVID-19 crisis to support our Blue Light colleagues. Our firefighters willingly stepped forward to volunteer to support EEAST. They did this because they have the skills and experience to work alongside paramedics responding to 999 calls.
In January 2020 we launched a new Falls Service responding to vulnerable people who fall in their homes. This new service enables us to support EEAST, helping relieve added pressures from the NHS. Our teams were trained by EEAST, with the skills required to the level of Community First Responders. This training means that they are also available to assist with medical emergencies as well as supporting falls situations. On over 70% of occasions we are able to make an effective intervention including calls to a clinician from EEAST. This means the patient can be safely left at home, without needing to attend hospital, which is an excellent outcome
Technical Support Unit (TSU)
The TSU has been set up and based at Dunstable Fire Station. This is the first of its kind in the country. This TSU responds to Bariatric and complex patient incidents where emergency removal of a patient is required to support EEAST. This dedicated vehicle carries specialist equipment including a bariatric stretcher which, enables crews to provide the best possible care to the patient. They can then be handed over to EEAST for further care.
You can find an update on our collaboration work in our latest report to the Fire and Rescue Authority.