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Fire chiefs urge FBU to support EMR

19 September 2017

THE NATIONAL Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has expressed its disappointed with the Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) decision to withdraw from the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) trials.

The NFCC says that the participation of firefighters in EMR has enhanced the professional reputation of the Fire and Rescue Service within communities, saved lives and prevented unnecessary long-term illness.

It claims to understand the concerns of the FBU over the ongoing pay dispute with the government. However, it warns that ceasing participation in EMR will not help the FBU to convince the government to offer more than a 2 percent pay increase to firefighters.

NFCC pointed to Manchester as an example of how EMR has made a positive impact. A 12-month independent review of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) cardiac arrest response highlighted: 

  • 63 lives were saved;
  • 77 people had serious neurological complications avoided;
  • Ambulances were on scene on average eight minutes less;
  • For every £1 invested there was a return of £6, which mainly went back to health; and
  • 77 people given ‘good’ neurological outcomes

By responding more quickly and providing additional capacity, the figure of 77 people highlighted above, means GMFRS were projected to support 77 casualties to go on to live independently, who would otherwise have experienced dependency on others for the rest of their lives. This analysis found that the return on investment for this initiative over five years would be likely to create a gross fiscal saving to the public purse of £5.2 million over five years.

A spokesperson from NFCC said: “The NFCC strongly urges the FBU to reconsider this decision. The trial also reaffirmed the trust and confidence the public has in the fire service and the wider work they do.”