FIREFIGHTERS will be assisting paramedics at Frankston, Rosebud and Patterson River after the launch of an initiative to boost emergency responses to heart attack calls.
The three stations are among five to receive the new Emergency Medical Response (EMR) program, which will also operate at Pakenham and Traralgon.
Data from Ambulance Victoria shows the number of Victorians suffering heart attacks increased to a ten-year high last year.
Firefighters at the five fire stations will now be dispatched to respond to triple zero calls for heart attack and non-breathing patients at the same time as paramedics.
CFA and Ambulance Victoria trialled the program in 2011 and found it significantly improved response times and helped increase survival rates of heart attack patients.
The five stations have been upgraded with emergency medical response equipment and defibrillators have been installed in the fire trucks. The firefighters have received specialist training to provide basic life support and give CPR.
The EMR program at all 35 integrated CFA stations around the state, with 15 integrated stations now providing emergency medical responses. It is also in operation in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, which has successfully provided the critical first responder services since 2000.
Emergency Services Minister James Merlino and Ambulance Services Minister Jill Hennessey visited the Frankston Fire Station on Monday (3 October) to launch the service.
Mr Merlino said training firefighters to respond to heart attacks will help support paramedics and deliver faster emergency medical response times for growing communities.