A pilot scheme between the emergency services in Hampshire to help people get medical treatment faster “is saving lives and taxpayers’ money”.
The blue light project means firefighters help paramedics gain entry to buildings to help patients inside more quickly.
During the one-year trial firefighters attended 1,347 calls across the county, saving the ambulance service an average of 20 minutes on each occasion.
It means that ambulance crews can treat patients faster, freeing them to get them to
hospital or attend another incident.
Stew Adamson, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s assistant chief officer, said: “This is a fantastic example of how blue light services can work together to protect the people of Hampshire and provide the public with the best possible value for money.
“We are often able to attend these incidents quicker than police, which means the ambulance can get to the people who need help quicker and the police have more time to fight crime.
“We are also better equipped to gain entry with ladders and various bits of kit.
“On some occasions we have been able to gain access through windows, which again leads to less delays and less stress for the public.”
Hampshire’s emergency services are already collaborating in a number of areas, including sharing buildings and staff.
The fire service and police have also been carrying out cross-service training to improve skills.
In January the fire service rolled out a new scheme to provide medical bags containing defibrillators to all fire officers for use on and off duty.
ACO Adamson added: “Blue light collaboration is all about providing the best service possible for the public and we are committed to finding new and innovative ways of working together.”