Government inspectors have praised our commitment to maintaining emergency response to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) also praised our support to the NHS and communities. This included working with the ambulance service to enable our firefighters to drive ambulances, fit masks and other personal protective equipment for NHS and care home staff, deliver essential items to vulnerable people, and support with the vaccination programme.
In its report published on Friday 22 January, the inspectorate found that the Service’s plans and use of data was innovative and allowed us to make an effective initial response to the pandemic and refocus activities to areas of greatest need.
We introduced home safety visits by telephone to provide advice to the most vulnerable members of our community and also pay-protected on-call firefighters who were furloughed from their main employment.
Many of the non-incident related activities carried out by our wholetime firefighters, such as attending community events and auditing businesses, could not continue during the pandemic.
Making better use of wholetime firefighters’ extra capacity was also recommended by the inspectorate. Firefighters are now calling residents and businesses remotely to give safety advice when they are not dealing with urgent work.
We have looked at the changing risk our communities have faced on a weekly basis and used this to adapt our service and public advice.
HMICFRS carried out inspections of all fire services to review our response to the pandemic and published the reports on its website.