THE life-saving capabilities of firefighters across England’s biggest county have been enhanced with the introduction of new training and equipment.

First aid provision for crews from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been improved through a training programme, Immediate Emergency Care, carried out in partnership with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

And as a follow-up to that the fire service is now purchasing defibrillators which will be carried by all fire engines in North Yorkshire by 2014.

Loading article content

The move means crews will be able to provide a better first aid response to casualties when attending incidents and also ensures an increased level of protection for staff.

A three-year water rescue strategy, which involved “significant” investment in swift-water rescue capabilities, has also now been completed.

The strategy means that all of the county’s fire stations now have water rescue skills and five of them – Ripon, Whitby, Richmond, Malton and Selby - have crews trained to an even higher standard, allowing them to perform swift-water rescues and enter water and perform rescues from unstable surfaces.

Four of those stations now have swift-water rescue boats and may be called to water rescue incidents anywhere in the county. A fifth is being purchased for Selby. At least one of the boats will be available for flooding incidents anywhere in the country.

New personal protective equipment, known as firekits, will also be worn by all fire crews and officers from the middle of this month as part of an on-going investment in staff safety.

The fire service’s head of policy and protection, Dave McCabe said: “These investments show our continued dedication to offer the best possible service to members of the public.

“The purchase of defibrillators and the improved first aid training provided to fire crews throughout the county is sure to have a positive impact on casualties at incidents we attend.

“Our significant investment in water rescue training and equipment proved their worth during the severe flooding that hit the county last year and I’m sure they will continue to do so in the years to come.”

*The Northern Echo is spearheading the Chance to Live campaign to get more heart-start defibrillators in public places.