Tune into NWAS on Channel 4

Thursday, 30 August, 2012

North West Ambulance Service Paramedics, Police and Firefighters from Lancashire are to feature in a new television documentary called "999: What's Your Emergency?"

Launching on Monday 10th September on Channel 4, the ten episode series, showcases the bravery and expertise of the emergency services in Blackpool. The producers have had all area access to the emergency crews in the seaside town and follow the moment 999 is dialled and the race to respond to incidents.

Filming began in October 2011 for an eight month period and the show features incidents such as anti social behaviour, drug and alcohol fuelled incidents and a fire fatality.

The series has been commissioned by Channel 4 and filmed by Blast Films who have recently produced other documentaries broadcast on Channel 4 such as 24 Hours in A&E. The series continues Channel 4's commitment to documenting the working lives of society's key workers in a compelling, human and engaging way. With high production values and crafted editing this series is set to show the unvarnished, sometimes harsh reality of life on the frontline of emergency services in Britain today.

Bob Williams, Deputy Chief Executive for North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust comments: 'I am immensely proud of the work our staff do and this series is the ideal opportunity to showcase that.

'Like our Fire and Police colleagues, the ambulance service never sleeps, providing round the clock emergency care for the North West population and the types of incidents we attend vary greatly. We see people when they are at their most vulnerable and the public place an enormous amount of trust in us.

'The cases shown in the series are not unusual, we attend incidents like these day and night throughout the region. We believe that the more the public knows about our service, the more they can help us best serve the people who really need our help. The 999 number can be open to abuse and many of the calls are for conditions that can be avoided such as excessive drinking on a night out. As always though, our staff deal with these in a caring and professional manner.

'We're very pleased with the way in which the Service and our staff have been portrayed in the series and are confident it will show the real ambulance service and the challenges we face.'

Chief Superintendent Richard Debicki, Divisional Commander for Western Division which covers Blackpool and the Fylde, says he hopes that the series will give the public an insight into the many and varied challenges faced by police officers and other emergency services every day across the country.

He said: "We made the decision to become involved in this series alongside the fire and ambulance service to highlight the excellent work our staff are involved in on a day to day basis. Whilst it is obviously based in Blackpool, the challenges we face are the same the length and breadth of the country and are in no way unique to Blackpool.

"Some issues of concern will be highlighted, such as drugs and alcohol abuse, and these do affect a small proportion of the population of Blackpool. However, we must remember whilst the gritty reality is often shocking when seen on TV, the local authority and other partners have done some fantastic work over the years to address some of the issues and this is reflected in the falling crime rates in the town."

"We have a tough job collectively and the series will show how the emergency services deal with some difficult situations in an extremely professional manner. By shining a light on what we do we hope that the public in particular can understand the challenges we face in order to keep them safe from harm. It also will show that police officers are 'human' too!"

Chris Kenny, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service says:

"The television documentary intends to showcase the dedication and professionalism of firefighters and other emergency services across Blackpool and the challenges faced on a daily basis. Similar problems are encountered in many parts Lancashire and across the country.

It always takes a degree of courage to allow the media to portray the emergency services as we are, rather than as we would like to appear. Ironically it is only through this honesty that the public can fully appreciate the challenges we face every day. I would, therefore, like to personally thank all those who have contributed to the programme. I am genuinely proud of my staff, not just those responding to people in need, but also of the wider staff working hard to prevent fires in the first place. This may be less glamorous but is no less effective. The combined result of our efforts is a quarter less people are being injured in Blackpool at fires compared to two years ago

I hope that the series will show how well the emergency services work together to assist and protect our communities. It will make people realise the tough, and at times, emotional situations we face. It should also provide reassurance that through our continued professionalism that the safety of our communities and public service is at the core of everything we do."

Return to news menu