Fire service to continue to support Covid-19 response
08 June 2020
STAFF FROM the fire and rescue services will continue to support the NHS, ambulance services, local authorities and other vital organisations in the fight against COVID-19, following extensive negotiations.
The talks, spanning a number of days, agreed that fire services will remain at the heart of the response to COVID-19 and continue to carry out agreed activities. The agreement was reached between the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the National Employer and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
This means COVID-related activities such as assisting care homes, helping with testing, driving ambulances, face fitting masks for the NHS/clinical staff and supporting the most vulnerable through deliveries will continue to take place until at least 26 July. This could extend further to August 26th if joint work on reviewing assessments is agreed and concluded.
NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher, commented: “This agreement is testament to fire service staff being ready, willing and able to play their part in the response to COVID-19, using their wide range of skills and expertise to help those who need it most.
“The agreement was initially made in March, with a number of new activities added as COVID-19 brought new demands. NFCC was confident fire services could assist and just as importantly - if not more so - would want to play a key role in supporting the pandemic’s challenges.
“These negotiations have not always been easy, but I knew FRSs would want to continue being at the heart of the response, doing what they do best; supporting those who need help and assistance.”
The discussions included reviewing learning and experiences from the last two months. New requests from the FBU were also brought to the table which required additional consideration as part of the tripartite agreement. It was also agreed that joint work on reviewing risk assessments would also be carried out with the aim to extend the agreement to August 26th.
Important recent additions are the Delivery of pre-designed training packages on Infection Prevention and Control, including hand, hygiene, PPE ’donning’ & ‘doffing’ guidance and procedures; and supporting the care home staff testing i.e. to train care home staff to train others according to the principle of ‘train the trainers.’
Delivery of pre-designed training packages on Infection Prevention and Control, including hand, hygiene, PPE ’donning’ & ‘doffing’ guidance and procedures; and supporting the care home staff testing i.e. direct to care home staff.
The additional activities are in addition to fire and rescue services maintaining the response to emergency incidents and carrying out core duties such as prevention and building safety based on risk.
The 14 additional areas of work in the tripartite agreement include: The assembly of single use face shields for the NHS and care work front line staff; packing/repacking food supplies for vulnerable people, transfer of patients to and from Nightingale hospitals; Assisting in taking samples for Covid-19 antigen testing; driving non-blue light ambulance transport; driving instruction; face fitting masks for frontline NHS and clinical staff; delivery of PPE and other medical supplies; assisting the ambulance service with driving and patient/ambulance support; moving deceased people and supporting the most vulnerable through deliveries.