The UFBA along with the NZPFU is involved in the NZFS Enhanced Medical Response Working Group.
The Fire Service has recently developed a medical first responder badge to recognise firefighters who are qualified to deliver medical first response.
This is an important initiative as firefighters attend more than 9000 medical callouts every year.
Paul Turner, NZFS Strategic Management Advisor Medical Response, says the badge has been well received by those qualified to wear it, and other brigade members are looking forward to the training to enable them to wear the badge.
What does the badge mean?
The Māori translation is:
- Ringa: Hand
- Whakahauora: Rescue or to give life
- Tuatahi: First
So the badge means: the first helping hand to rescue or give life.
Paul says the badge will be available on the workwear group shortly for those volunteers who have qualified to wear it.
“If you’re a volunteer who’s completed the course, your CFO will be able to order the badge for you,” he says.
How do you qualify to wear the badge?
If you’ve successfully completed the St John four day First Responder course, you’re eligible to be medical first responders. Ongoing clinical education is provided by St John and this is eight hours every six months.
Being a first responder means you’re an adequately qualified resource that’s dispatched to provide patient care, until a more qualified ambulance resource arrives to continue the management of the patient.
At the moment, the badge is only for Fire Service personnel in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with St John. However, the NZFS is working with Rural and St John to align Rural to the agreement.
Who can complete the course?
The First Responder courses are being delivered only to the 56 Brigades listed as First Responders in the agreement with St John. In December 2014, the Fire Service and St John signed the MOU, formalising changes to practices since the two organisations signed their first such agreement in 2005.
The changes related mainly to the introduction of a co-response service to supplement the first-response service provided by the two organisations. The purpose of the revised agreement is faster response times and better outcomes for patients.
For more information on the Medical Response work being done with St John, refer to the NZFS Firenet section or contact Paul Turner on 09 354 5138 or email Paul.
From Nigel Lilley, UFBA Director, CFO Rolleston Volunteer Fire Brigade
The UFBA along with the NZPFU has been fully involved with the Enhanced Medical Response Working Group from the start, initially under the guidance of Brian Butt, later replaced by Paul Turner seconded to the position to work on it full time.
The public are often startled when a ‘big red truck’ arrives, often before the ambulance. We decided at a steering group meeting that ‘fireys’ had to be recognised at a medical event.
We jointly came up with the idea of a patch to be worn on the uniform. Paul agreed and took it to the boss. National Commander Paul Baxter fully supported the idea, and even took it one step further—he decided that we’d also brand the trucks.
As well as serving its purpose to show the public we’re medically trained, the badge will be useful at the likes of a motor vehicle accident. An ambulance officer can quickly identify our additional skill set and put it to use to assist them if need be.
It’s long and hard work educating the public around Fire Service first and co-response, but we’ll get there.
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