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Bendigo Fire Brigade becomes EMR capable
A CFA-Ambulance Victoria co-responder initiative aimed at increasing potentially life-saving medical assistance at the scene of emergency incidents has been expanded.
From 8am on Thursday 9 November, CFA firefighters from Bendigo Fire Station joined the 27 CFA brigades already providing emergency medical response (EMR).
EMR is a joint program between CFA and Ambulance Victoria designed to boost cardiac arrest victims’ chances of survival – helping to protect more Victorian lives by responding to life-threatening medical emergencies alongside Ambulance Victoria paramedics.
The expansion of this program to all CFA integrated stations is an election commitment from the State Government who provided funding to implement the EMR program to all CFA’s integrated brigades over a three year period which commenced in 2016.
CFA District 2 Operations Manager Bill Johnstone said the program sees firefighters and paramedics dispatched at the same time to assist in life-threatening medical emergencies.
“If a firefighter arrives at your door in the event of a life-threatening medical emergency do not turn them away. Every second counts in emergencies,” he said.
Firefighters will respond simultaneously with the nearest ambulance to help unconscious patients and patients who are not breathing by providing access to life-saving emergency care.
“By working together we have a better chance of saving someone’s life.
“And the message to the public is: Don’t be surprised if you see a fire truck and an ambulance at a life-threatening medical emergency.”
Ambulance Victoria Chief Executive Officer Tony Walker said the program was the result of a successful pilot and was already well-established at the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
“In a cardiac arrest, what you do before emergency services arrive can greatly improve the chance of someone’s survival,” Mr Walker said.
“Call Triple Zero for assistance and listen carefully to the call taker who can provide instructions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Any CPR is better than no CPR.
“Early CPR provides blood flow to a person’s brain and vital organs, and means they have a better chance of survival when medical help arrives.
“Early bystander defibrillation through the use of Public Access Defibrillators increases the chance of survival even further.”
Today’s announcement means CFA now has 28 EMR-capable brigades.