COVID-19: Fire service to assist with antigen testing, transportation of NHS outpatients to appointments or to receive urgent care and with providing instruction to others on non-blue light ambulance driving.
Following the unprecedented Agreement reached on 26 March between the Fire Service National Employers, National Fire Chiefs Council and Fire Brigades Union, it has today been agreed to add a further three areas of work to reflect the scale of the national crisis and the urgency of the response required. Firefighters will be able to:
- Assist in taking samples for Covid-19 antigen testing
- Drive ambulance transport not on blue-lights (excluding known Covid-19 patients) to outpatient appointments or to receive urgent care
- Provide driving Instruction by FRS driver trainers to deliver training for non-Service personnel to drive ambulances (not on blue-lights)
Firefighters will continue responding to core emergencies, such as fires and road traffic collisions, but under the agreement can now provide additional services specifically related to Covid-19. This adds to the areas of additional work already agreed through this joint process:
- Ambulance Service assistance: Ambulance Driving and Patient/Ambulance personnel support limited to current competence (Not additional FRS First or Co-Responding)
- Vulnerable persons – delivery of essential items
- Covid-19 – Mass casualty (Movement of bodies)
- Face Fitting for masks to be used by frontline NHS and clinical care staff working with Covid-19 patients
- Delivery of PPE and other medical supplies to NHS and care facilities
The three organisations will continue to meet weekly, or more frequently if required, to discuss any additional requests for assistance made by Local Resilience Forums and Strategic Coordination Groups.
Cllr Nick Chard, Chair of the National Employers, said:
“We will continue to work at pace to bring an extra resource to the battle against the impact of Covid-19, working collaboratively with the FBU and NFCC for the benefit of local people.”
“Fire and Rescue has always played its role in meeting immense challenges and this crisis is no exception. We have stepped up our assistance to support our over stretched public sector colleagues, especially ambulance services, with our can do attitude and sense of community spirit and will continue to do so.”
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