Introduction: Even in the best funded and organised emergency medical units the time of reaching the scene of an accident by rescue units, especially in rural areas, can be too long. People who can provide first aid, especially qualified first aid (QFA), play a key role in such cases. Thus, we should strive to improve the cooperation between the National Emergency Medical System (NEMS) and the National Rescue and Firefighting System (NRFS).

Methodology: The aim of this survey was to analyse the organisational and legal actions of both the NEMS and NRFS systems in the scope of providing the first aid to people in a sudden life threatening situation. What is more, the goals of the survey were to make general conclusions about the potential of the NRFS in the scope of providing QFA and, finally, with the use of the questionnaires, examine the opinions of the NEMS workers on the quality of the QFA provided by NRFS rescuers. A group of 98 workers of the NEMS took part in the survey, including doctors, paramedics and nurses from the whole country. The study involved a diagnostic survey in the form of an anonymous questionnaire of own authorship. There were 22 questions prepared to study the quality of QFA provided by the NRFS units and their engagement in providing help.

Results: Medical rescue units employees rated the foregoing cooperation. The results showed that in many cases the units included in the NRFS, which were first at the scene of an accident, undertook proper actions, but the abilities and skills of fire rescuers in the range of QFA still need some improvement. Constant practical trainings are necessary, especially in the scope of CPR in order to achieve the optimal cooperation of Volunteer Fire Brigade and State Fire Service, which will complement the NEMS.

Conclusions: Providing the QFA by NRFS rescuers to people in a sudden life threatening situation, before reaching the scene of an accident by an emergency medical rescue unit, increases the chance of survival of these patients. The QFA training given to NRFS rescuers improves the essential preparation to provide the aid to people in a sudden life threatening situation. Law regulations that allow the medical dispatcher to use the potential of NRFS units to provide the QFA, before the scene of accident is reached by emergency medical rescuers. Furthermore, the requirements for the rules of perpetuation and periodical control of skills after 66 hour of QFA course should be improved, despite the legally regulated recertification, which is held in a 3-year cycle.

Keywords: the qualified first aid, systems coordination, optimization of rescue operations

Type of article: review article