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Preparations and advice for coronavirus (Covid-19)

Last updated - 30 March

This page has been created to replicate the information on the Service intranet to make it available to our on-call staff. Due to limitations with our website some of the information has been uploaded as PDFs rather than webpages. If you're finding the information difficult to access then please contact communicationsandengagement@dsfire.gov.uk.

 

Important update for staff

 

Revised working arrangements during the coronavirus pandemic - 25 March

 

The coronavirus outbreak is an exceptional situation, which will affect all of us in different ways. We recognise this may result in staff needing additional time off work outside of their normal arrangements. This guidance sets out the revised working options for staff.

 

Wholetime, shift / flexible duty changes

 

We will be flexible where shift changes are requested. Where necessary, the Operational Resourcing Centre will seek to put these in place. Wherever possible, changes should be made in a way that limits movement to different work locations.

 

On-call contractual hours

 

We will waive the requirement for on-call staff to meet their weekly contractual hours, subject to ensuring on-all appliance availability is maintained.

 

Day duty, uniformed and non-uniformed flexible working

  • A coreless hours approach will be adopted - staff must sign in and out of timesheets to record any time they are able to work.
  • Restrictions around start and finish times will be removed.
  • Staff are able to work any day of the week (if this is a matter of personal choice, then will not require overtime for working on a weekend or evening).
  • There are no restrictions around the number of deficit hours (green book) that are worked (currently four deficit hours per four week period). This would allow staff to work a shorter week if required.
  • Staff will be able to work more than their contractual hours to support Service Delivery, subject to taking appropriate breaks. Any additional hours requested will be paid at overtime rates.
  • Working time regulations still apply. Anyone wishing to work more than 48 hours per week will be required to sign an opt-out form.

Annual leave

 

Staff who have annual leave approved in line with service policy are encouraged to take this as normal. Any leave cancelled during this leave year at the request of an individual can be re-booked, together with any further leave requests. However, any further requests for leave will be granted in accordance with the urgent needs of the Service and not necessarily in line with current leave policy arrangements. Unused leave beyond the normal levels contained within our policies cannot be carried forward into the next leave year. Payment will be offered for any leave that is cancelled at the request of the Service where it cannot be re-booked due to the urgent needs of the Service.

 

Key worker status

 

All service staff have been given key worker status and have the option to use the school facilities for dependent children where their role requires them to be at a given location. However, wherever possible, we would encourage staff to work from home in their normal or modified role to ease the burden on the schools.

 

Additional paid leave

 

We want to support staff through this crisis and already have several policies which enable staff to have additional time off to care for dependants and for other types of special leave. Staff who require additional time away from work beyond the scope of any of these policies can request an extension to the set periods through their line manager. Any request will not be unreasonably refused. Each case will require regular review by the line manager.

 

Staff who fall within the identified vulnerable criteria

 

Where staff have an underlying medical condition, they may have the need for an extended period away from the normal work environment in accordance with the social distancing guidance given by the Government. Where this is the case, we will support staff in this situation by offering modified working arrangements wherever possible. Where homeworking is not possible, managers will take appropriate measures to ensure that staff who may be at an enhanced risk are protected from unnecessary exposure to others. Where other work cannot be found at a safe location and the individual needs to be socially distanced, managers will be authorised to maintain pay arrangements to enable the individual to safely social distance at home. Each case will require regular review by the line manager.

 

Staff notified by the NHS to stay at home for 12 weeks


Those who are considered to have very serious health conditions and are being asked to self-isolate (stay at home) for 12-weeks will receive a letter from the NHS. A copy of the letter should be forwarded to the Pay & Conditions team (pandcshared@dsfire.gov.uk) and this absence should be reported on Workbench as self-isolation. Please add a comment noting that the person concerned has been advised by letter from the NHS to self-isolate for 12-weeks.

 

Advice for staff

The Service has enacted our business continuity plans with the priority being to maintain Service Delivery.

Therefore you should start taking the following action as soon as possible:

  • If you are able to work from home you should now do so. Access to pulse licences is restricted, so we would ask that you plan ahead and only connect to the network when necessary, saving what you need and working offline whenever possible.
  • All non-essential meetings should be cancelled or held remotely by phone or video call.
  • Avoid any unnecessary travel.
  • Non-essential work will be put on hold to focus resources on Service Delivery - your manager will help you determine priorities, and as our plans progress we may ask you to support other teams.

All departments are now implementing their business continuity plans. Our Operational Support Team (OST) is managing the impact on our frontline services. We have now set up a business continuity cell to support OST by coordinating business continuity arrangements outside of Service Delivery.

The cell will help to address any issues experienced by departments as they implement their business continuity plans. If you have any questions or concerns please speak to your line management in the first instance, where necessary they can escalate any issues to the cell by emailing business continuity.

Read the latest guidance around social distancing on the GOV.UK website.

Guidance for operational staff and those with a public-facing role

Bulletins

Clarification on guidance for Co-responders

Co-responder utilisation, clinical procedures and PPE changes

Changes to crewing levels to restrict the spread of Coronavirus

Servicing and cleaning of BA

Covid 19 procedure for booking sick

Disposable paper suits

Biological Materials Decontamination

Covid 19 Infection Coronavirus

Operational Articles

Covid 19 virus acute respiratory disease - Ops Article

Covid 19 Coronavirus flow chart - operational response

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS)

Safe undressing procedure for paper suits

Biological Decontamination - Fire Kit or GTS

Bagging Procedure - Contaminated PPE

Decontamination - Contaminated Equipment

Safe Undressing Procedure (SUP) for Fire Kit and P3 Respirator

Safe Undressing Procedure (SUP) for Firefighting PPE and BA

 

Guidance for Managers

If you are a manager, please read our guide for managers (PDF).

Recent staff updates

NHS advice


 

 

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