Warwickshire firefighters win praise for tackling extra duties under pandemic
Warwickshire’s firefighters have been commended for their handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following a recent inspection, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said it was impressed with how Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) had stepped up its wider duties while continuing to respond to emergency incidents.
The service's extra activities include: staff making regular telephone calls to vulnerable people to check on their welfare; delivering food parcels, prescriptions and PPE to vulnerable residents; and transporting people from hospital to their homes.
The inspectorate praised the service's continuity plans to operate safely and effectively during the pandemic, such as remote working practices; changes made to mobilising systems to ensure firefighters continue to be dispatched speedily to incidents; as well as the use of social media to communicate safety messages to residents.
Warwickshire chief fire officer Kieran Amos said: “We are delighted to have received this recognition. I am so proud of our amazing people and how they have been going above and beyond to support our communities for almost a year now.
“We have worked tirelessly with partners, including county council colleagues, NHS and Warwickshire Police, to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are kept safe during the pandemic. To be recognised by HMICFRS is a great achievement and I hope it gives everyone in our service a boost to keep on going over these next challenging months.”
“In addition to caring for our community, we are also doing all we can to look after the health and wellbeing of our staff, so they can continue to deliver all of our services to our community. It has been exhausting keeping our emergency services going whilst supporting the Covid effort, but it has also been extremely gratifying.”
Chief Officer Amos also pointed to other newer duties they had undertaken to assist with the pandemic, he said: "We are also assisting mortuaries, and local funeral director services. We’re particularly proud of our fantastic Hospital to Home service, which directly alleviates the pressure in our NHS hospitals by freeing up beds, whilst allowing us to ensure the outgoing patient is safely settled back into their home, with one of our ‘safe & well’ checks.”
Cllr Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service added: “What we have heard from HMICFRS, confirms what we already know - we have an excellent Fire Service, which we greatly value, and we know that our community feels the same. WFRS have stepped up to provide such great support to our community through the challenges of this pandemic, continuing to demonstrate their commitment to protecting our community, particularly the most vulnerable.
“It is vital that our residents feel safe, particularly in the midst of this pandemic, where so many vulnerable people, are more isolated and confined to their homes; so, ensuring our emergency services were maintained was our absolute priority. As ever, our fire service wanted to go the extra mile and offer whatever they could to protect our community and add to the wider Covid effort.
“We are very excited about the future, as we feel the Fire Service is well placed to offer even more services in making Warwickshire be the best it can be.”