BUCKINGHAMSHIRE Fire and Rescue has been shortlisted for a prestigious award recognising its ambulance co-response system, currently on trial in the county.

Under the scheme, specially trained firefighters are despatched to medical emergencies to provide life-saving treatment before an ambulance arrives on scene.

The project is currently being trialled at Great Missenden Marlow, Amersham/Chesham and High Wycombe, with over 600 callouts in the last three months alone.

And the success of the scheme has caught the eye of public risk management association Alarm, which has nominated the fire service for its Strategic Risk award for 2014.

Chief Operating Officer, Jason Thelwell, said: “We are committed to making Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes the safest places in England in which to live, work and travel.

"By engaging in schemes such as co-responding, and collaborating with our partner agencies through innovative approaches to managing and reducing risk, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and its staff are demonstrating their commitment to achieving this vision.

“To be shortlisted for this award highlights the importance of what we are aiming to achieve, and gives real recognition to those who are making the scheme a success.”

The ambulance co-reponse system is run in partnership with South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.

The specially-trained firefighters are dispatched by South Central Ambulance Service’s Emergency Operations Centre after a 999 call is received.

The firefighter co-responders do not replace emergency ambulances, but can give early medical treatment until an ambulance arrives.

The availability of fire engines is not affected, as firefighters use a purpose-built co-responder car supplied by South Central Ambulance Service.