AMBULANCE crews and firefighters in one County Durham town will now be based in the same facility after a co-location deal has been agreed between the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.

Under the new agreement, the recently renovated emergency service station in Sedgefield will house both paramedic crews and ambulances, along with local fire crews – building on a successful partnership between the two.

In recent times, pooling of headquarter bases has become a common theme for the emergency services in the North East, with the Sedgefield station becoming the 21st co-location site across the region, and the fifth in County Durham.

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As a result, the North East Ambulance Service will move one of its 24-hour ambulances and 12 employees from its busy Fishburn station 2.2 miles down the road to begin the integration of the joint-working system by the end of February. This ambulance will continue to service the Fishburn area alongside a second emergency ambulance, which will remain at Fishburn station.

Darren Green, head of operations (central) at NEAS, said: “When our fire service colleagues offered us accommodation at its new community station in Sedgefield, we saw this as an excellent opportunity to add Sedgefield as an additional base.

“We have a strong relationship with the fire service and the stations we share with them in other parts of the region have shown us that being co-located helps our teams get to know each other better in terms of knowledge and abilities, which makes us an even better team when we’re on scene together at an incident.”

The Northern Echo: Sedgefield Fire Station. Picture: GOOGLE.Sedgefield Fire Station. Picture: GOOGLE.

An additional emergency vehicle was added to Fishburn station in 2019 as part of the extra investment received by from commissioners to increase our staffing and vehicles. However, the station site is small and has become over-crowded.

This has become particularly concerning during the pandemic, where additional measures, such as physical distancing, are required to keep colleagues safe, according to both North East emergency services.

Mr Green added: “We’re looking forward to moving into the building at the end of February and hope this new station will provide some additional comfort at a time when our crews have never been busier.”

The Northern Echo: The operations of both emergency services will remain the same after the reshuffle. Picture: CDDFRS.The operations of both emergency services will remain the same after the reshuffle. Picture: CDDFRS.

Stuart Errington, CDDFRS’ Chief Fire Officer, said: “We are also looking forward to sharing the newly refurbished station alongside our colleagues at NEAS as we know it will allow us to provide first-class service to support local community.

“The Combined Fire Authority’s vision for this refurbished community fire station is one of state-of-the-art facilities and collaboration with our partners and we hope that local residents will look positively on this building in the heart of their town.” 

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