Glenavy Fire Brigade agrees to be first responders

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 04/07/2014

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Good things take time, just ask the Glenavy Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The firefighters have put their hands up to become "first responders", which will mean building up their first aid skills so they are better equipped for being first on the scene at medical calls.

The crew began the process in May and is still waiting for the green light, before the new role becomes official.

Brigade chief Bevin Joyce said although St John was happy with the idea, the firefighters were still waiting for approval from their regional manager.

"The brigade's agreed to do it. Once it's approved we'll sign up for training."

That training will take place over two weekends.

"Once half the brigade's been trained to standard we'll be turned out."

Joyce said he was not sure when that was likely to happen.

"It's moving along at a glacial pace - it's out of our hands, really.

The crew already carries oxygen and a defibrillator in its fire engine.

About a third of calls were medical-related, a third motor vehicle crashes and one third fires, he said.

Joyce expects that once the brigade attains first responder status, its medical workload will double.

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- The Timaru Herald

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