Heroic actions of on-call firefighter

A quick-thinking on-call firefighter with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) put his specialist First Aid skills to good use when a local resident needed urgent medical attention.

Also head gardener at Hodnet Hall gardens, Ross Underwood, aged 37, is on-call for emergencies with SFRS and on this occasion, put his fire-fighter training to use at his primary employer’s workplace.

He was alerted by a colleague to a man in his 80s, experiencing a blackout in the gardens and sprang into action, retrieving the trauma kit from nearby Hodnet fire station.

The gentleman, who wishes to remain anonymous, had collapsed and although conscious, was experiencing dangerously low oxygen levels. After an initial assessment Mr Underwood identified the patient's medical history and didn’t hesitate to put into practice the specialist skills he’d gained during on-call training.

He was able to reassure the patient, assess his oxygen levels, administer oxygen therapy, prepare the defibrillator and stabilise and monitor the patient’s condition until the ambulance arrived. The patient was later released from hospital.

On-call firefighter Ross Underwood said: “Since joining SFRS as an on-call firefighter in 2016 I’ve gained an immense sense of personal satisfaction from being able to help people.

“It’s great to do something so rewarding alongside my main career and the combination of training, teamwork and public service is hugely motivating. It can be a challenging role but I would encourage anyone who is interested to find out more.”

More than 70 per cent of on-call firefighters are trained to Level 3 certificates in First Response Emergency Care (FREC), equipping them to deal with a broad range of incidents and medical conditions.

These skills can be used at work or at home for conditions such from head injuries, spinal injuries, trauma, cardiac arrests to ballistic injuries and medical emergencies.

Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton said: “As a service we are always immensely proud of all our staff. Ross has thought instinctively and gone above and beyond his normal duties.

“A large part of being an on-call firefighter is about having a sense of civic duty, a desire to protect and be part of the community in which you live.

“This situation clearly demonstrates just one of the benefits of being on-call. For the individual it means gaining new skills, becoming part of a close-knit team and making friends who you’ll stay connected to for many years to come.

“Employers can benefit too from having on-call staff as they are trained in teamworking, communication as well as a host of practical skills.

“I’d like to congratulate Ross on his efforts and also thank the individual he administered First Aid to for their donation to the Service.”

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is always looking for on-call firefighters. They form a crucial part of the Service and come from all walks of life and are of all ages starting from 18. 

If you, or someone you know is looking for a new challenge, they must live or work within five minutes of a station and be available for a set number of hours each week to answer 999 calls.

Full training, support, promotion opportunities along with excellent pay await candidates who must pass physical and written tests and ideally have good communication skills and enjoy working in a team.

On-call staff are a crucial part of the Fire Service who are essential for keeping Shropshire’s rural communities safe. Click here for more details.

1st May, 2020