Firefighters in Lincolnshire may take legal action over proposals that would see them driving patients to hospital in an ambulance, the Fire Brigades Union has announced.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) have announced that ‘fire ambulances’ will be stationed at Woodhall Spa, Long Sutton and Stamford from July as part of a £491,000 trial.
Local fire crews already attend medical emergencies, but say they have concerns over the legality of the fire ambulance consultation process and the effect proposals would have.
They are asking that the officials behind the scheme agree a condition, stipulating that the mobilisation of fire engines would always take priority over ambulances.
Karl McKee, FBU secretary for Lincolnshire, said: “These proposals play Russian roulette with fire safety and could lead to damage to property, loss of businesses and even loss of life.
“Local firefighters are happy to work with any other agency when appropriate, but we are not here to prop up ambulance cover at the expense of fire safety.
“East Midlands Ambulance Service now deny there are massive delays when ambulances arrive at hospitals that would keep firefighters away from fighting fires for hours at a time, but how can we believe them when not long ago they admitted the problem and were discussing how to overcome it?
“Common sense must prevail as the communities of Lincolnshire deserve better.”
The FBU also dismissed claims made by the service that the chances of a fire or other incident occurring while an ambulance is deployed is not very likely as “missing the point”.