As a response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are supporting teams across the County Council, NHS and the wider Local Resilience Forum by undertaking additional duties to protect communities across Cumbria.
Here in Cumbria, firefighters have been working tirelessly since the start of the pandemic to support communities in every way possible - from helping to deliver food parcels, PPE, emergency medication and more recently supporting the roll out of lateral flow testing.
Lateral flow testing is already underway within Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, it means all staff, including those who are undertaking vital COVID-19 work, are kept safe and are able to prevent the spread of the virus by anyone who may be asymptomatic.
National Fire Chiefs Council Chair Roy Wilsher said:
“Fire and Rescue Services across the country stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the NHS, nurses, paramedics and care workers in the fight against COVID-19. Firefighters have extensive first aid, trauma care qualifications and experience and want to play their part.
“It is in the DNA of a firefighter to assist where help is needed the most; I know staff will not sit behind the red doors of their fire station, when their help is needed in the communities they so ably serve. They will not wait for the pandemic to pass them by; they are ready, willing and able to continue to be at the heart of the response.
“The safety of firefighters is vitally important to every Chief Fire Officer. These risk assessments clearly set out how we will keep our people safe while carrying out this work.”
As the country moves to mass vaccination programmes, staff from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are once again stepping up to assist. Over 250 full-time and on-call firefighters, plus community safety and support service staff have volunteered to be trained and equipped with the skills to help local NHS services deliver and administer vaccinations across the county.
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer John Beard, said:
“Firefighters across the UK are supporting the vaccination effort and in Cumbria we are doing the same. We have a dedicated team of colleagues who are volunteering at the Mass Vaccination Centre in Kendal, providing much-needed support to our NHS colleagues who are facing unprecedented pressure.”
Further to the recent announcements that army personnel have been deployed to assist North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) blue light clinicians, the trust has made further steps to boost its resilience, and train dozens of the region’s firefighters to perform a similar role.
The 42 firefighters will start an education programme with NWAS, with teams from Merseyside, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s. They will all undertake training in equipment familiarisation, driving and basic life support.
Chief Fire Officer John Beard, added:
“When North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) asked for our support, we were more than happy to assist. A number of our employees have stepped forward to assist our colleagues at NWAS by driving ambulances, responding to emergencies, and helping NWAS paramedics where necessary. Whilst there is no urgent requirement for deployment, we are preparing now to respond when we are needed.
“We have received nothing but praise from colleagues and members of the public alike for our efforts so far and as a Service we are so proud to be able to assist. We’d like to assure our communities we have robust plans in place to account for our staff being redeployed in the COVID-19 response, whilst still maintaining our core Fire and Rescue Services and keeping everyone safe from harm.”
You can learn more about how Fire and Rescue Services across the country are assisting in the COVID-19 response by reading this article from the National Fire Chiefs Council.