Thousands of staff from across our UK Fire and Rescue Services are continuing to support our NHS, ambulance services, local authorities and other vital front-line organisations in a collaborative national effort against Covid-19, following extensive negotiations.
In May firefighters rapidly responded to the call to help ease pressure on our health and care services by taking on several additional responsibilities including driving ambulances, transporting the deceased, and delivering food and medicines to our most vulnerable people within communities. Further to this they have played a major part in delivering dedicated infection, prevention and control (IPC) training packages to care home staff, in the hope it would help cease the devastating spread of coronavirus in the sector.
Recent reports show that care home residents are sadly on course to make up more than half the deaths caused directly, or indirectly, by Covid-19 in England. Additionally, these findings advise that the death toll by the end of June from coronavirus infections, and other excess deaths is “likely to approach 59,000 across the entire English population, of which about 34,000 (57%) will have been care home residents.”
Fire units across the country have been teaming up with care homes to deliver virus testing kits to care homes, as well providing the necessary training and support to the care home staff to carry out the tests. This partnership agreement contains a number of measures to prevent cross-infection between vulnerable individuals, care home staff and fire crew. For example, the brigades are using sterilised safety bags to prevent clothing and equipment that may have been exposed to the virus from contaminating fire engines.
The agreement was reached between the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the National Employer and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) for the fire services to remain at the heart of the response to Covid-19 and continue to carry out agreed activities until late July at the earliest.