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Figures reveal first aid pressures on Scotland’s firefighters

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

FIREFIGHTERS have attended hundreds of medical emergencies to provide emergency first aid until an ambulance arrives.

Since the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was set up in 2013, firefighters have been sent to 1157 incidents at the request of the ambulance service.

A total of 481 of these were through a national out-of-hospital cardiac arrest trial and two historic co-responder agreements in Aberdeenshire.

The remaining 676 requests for assistance were made outwith any formal agreements, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats.

The party’s health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Co-responding arrangements make sense because every second is critical in medical emergencies.

“However, people will be concerned that these figures are also an indication of the pressure the ambulance service is under.

“On hundreds of occasions they have asked firefighters to cover a medical emergency because they couldn’t get an ambulance there immediately.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Time is of the essence in life-threatening incidents, which is why we dispatch responders skilled in CPR and basic life-saving skills alongside resources from the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“First responders, including firefighters, do save lives.”