Pandemic brings firefighter and paramedic together

A photo of firefighter Martin Green in kit smiling on the left, and a photo of paramedic Lauren Biffen smiling in kit, holding a dummy patient on the right.
Firefighter Martin and paramedic Lauren

“I am doing a job I believe in and I’ve also met Lauren. I’m the lucky one.”

Our firefighter, Martin

We’re excited to share that Lauren Biffen, student paramedic and our firefighter Martin Green have announced their engagement. The pair met whilst driving ambulances for South West Ambulance Service (SWASfT) as part of a joint initiative with our service and other fire and rescue services in the region. This is intended to help safeguard frontline services to patients during Covid-19. 

The couple met at the end of June in Shepton Mallet whilst working and formed a bond quickly.

Lauren happened to be working an overtime shift and came across Martin rigorously checking the ambulance. “I thought to myself…‘he’s keen’,” she said jokingly. Lauren describes herself as the straight talker in the relationship, and Martin as the charming one.

“There was something very special about Lauren,” said Martin. “I admire everyone in the NHS for the care, commitment, and support they provide. Yet I knew immediately Lauren is just one in a million. We just hit it off straight away and became good friends”.

Fire and ambulance join forces

Martin had volunteered to support ambulance crews to drive vehicles and work alongside clinicians to provide care and assistance to patients in April 2020.

Lauren said: “Having volunteers from the fire and rescue service, as part of our wider pandemic response plans, has meant that we have been able to maintain our levels of ambulance cover in order to deliver patient care. Firefighters know how to drive under emergency situations in fire engines, and this skill can be applied to driving ambulances safely and smoothly both in responding to an emergency and conveying patients to hospital, which is making a significant contribution during the pandemic.”

“It’s been such a privilege to be given the opportunity to work with SWASfT.” Said Martin. “I love my job. I joined the fire service to make a difference. Working for SWASfT has given me insight into the ambulance service and how they operate.”

What it’s like being an emergency services couple

“You can never plan anything,” said Lauren teasingly. “It’s not the kind of job where you can expect to finish on time. We really don’t mind though as we’re helping people at the end of the day. But it does make it difficult to plan dinner together!”

Martin added: “At work, I think we’re both very practical people. When you work in the emergency services, you’re never shocked. We know immediately what we each bring and how to work as a team when we turn up to a scene and make the most of our skills. I’ve seen that it’s helped us to have firefighter skills to access a property in an emergency when we wouldn’t normally be able to get in. We’ve shared insights and knowledge on both sides.”