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Dial 999 And Get Taxi Driver in York To Speed Up Emergency Responses


7:33am 11th February 2014
(Updated 11:30am 11th February 2014)

When you dial 999 in York, you could now get a taxi driver before a paramedic.It's part of a new scheme to get somebody who is medically trained to you as soon as possible.

Ten drivers from Fleetways Taxis have been trained to be emergency first responders in what's thought to be the first scheme of its kind in England. Three more are being trained in the weeks ahead.

They'll provide immediate life-saving care to people in an emergency medical situation, such as heart attack, breathing difficulties or a collapse, in the vital minutes before the ambulance arrives

The training has included CPR, the use of a defibrillator, which delivers a controlled electric shock to restart the heart and the drivers will also carry and administer portable oxygen. 

In addition, an defibrilator will also be available at Fleetways Taxis office next to York Railway Station. This will enable any incidents within a 200 metre radius to be attended by the staff in the office.

The vital life-saving equipment has been paid for jointly by Fleetways and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS).

Paul Stevens from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service said: “Community First Responders make a valuable contribution to their communities and we are delighted to welcome the drivers of Fleetways Taxis to our team in York."

“We know that in many medical emergencies the first few minutes are critical.  If effective treatment can be performed within those first minutes, lives can be saved and disability reduced. Taxi drivers are situated in the city centre, work a wide range of hours and are mobile across a large area of the locality, this means they could be very well-placed to respond to an emergency situation and help us to save lives at any time, day or night."

“This is thought to be the first scheme of its kind to launch in England and is a great example of how the Trust works in partnership with private companies, local organisations and public-funded bodies to ensure the best care possible for the people of Yorkshire. We are proud to work in partnership with Fleetways Taxis and their passion, dedication and commitment to serving their community should be commended.”

Stewart Arnott, Finance Director of Fleetways Taxis added: “It was only when Fleetways really needed a qualified first aider on hand and we didn’t have one available, that we realised we could make a difference if we trained more staff and drivers in first aid."

“A driver from another taxi firm pulled up outside our base during the morning rush last summer and called for help; he had a suspected cardiac arrest and we helped where we could. Luckily the ambulance was on scene quickly and he made a full recovery but we wanted to do more to help."

“A bit of research on our part showed that defibrillators are available for public use and are vital bits of kit when it comes to saving lives, so we decided to invest in several machines and contacted YAS for their help."

“As a result our joint venture was created and the Fleetways team are looking forward to being able to help others in a similar situation to the driver who needed us last year.”

Full training is given to successful applicants who need to be over 18, physically fit and hold a full driving licence having never been banned from driving with no more than three penalty points.  Yorkshire Ambulance Service will also run Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on candidates.

Anyone interested can find out more from Neil Marsay, Community Defibrillation Officer at Neil.Marsay@yas.nhs.uk

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