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Fire and Rescue Services offering to support care homes in COVID-19 fight

02 June 2020

FIRE AND Rescue Service staff will now be offering to work with local partners in order to support care homes in the fight against COVID-19. This new move follows on from a national agreement led by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the National Employer and the Fire Brigades Union.

Where there is a need this will include delivering training to staff on how to use and wear PPE properly, and also supporting staff on testing and training on infection prevention and control.

Roy Wilsher, chair of the NFCC, said: “This initiative means Fire and Rescue Services will be working with local partners and care home staff to assist in the fight against COVID-19. This agreement means we can ensure those who need help will receive it.”

Wilsher continued: “Care homes remain a cause of concern in relation to COVID-19 cases. Fire and Rescue Services’  knowledge, skills and capabilities mean they have a lot of expertise to offer and can play a significant role in helping care homes through training staff to increase their confidence and knowledge, while also helping to keep residents safe.”

In conclusion, Wilsher stated: “Once again, this shows that staff across Fire and Rescue Services are ready, willing and able to take on additional duties and help wherever support is needed during times of crisis. This support and assistance is in the DNA of fire staff and shows their dedication and commitment to helping those who need it.”

Robust risk assessment

This agreement will be underpinned with a robust risk assessment to support those carrying out the work and to keep them safe. This will include appropriate training, appropriate PPE and high standards of hygiene, with social distancing in place.

Where needed, the agreement will see the delivery of pre-designed training packages on Infection Prevention and Control, including hand, hygiene, PPE use guidance and procedures, supporting the care home staff testing (for example, training care home staff to train others according to the principle of ‘train the trainers’.)

Currently, thousands of Fire and Rescue Service staff from across the UK are volunteering to support the NHS and other key services in the fight against COVID-19, with a further 10,000 staff on standby to assist as and when required.

This is in addition to activities already agreed including: the assembly of single-use face shields for the NHS and care work front line staff, packing/re-packing food supplies for vulnerable people, the transfer of patients to and from Nightingale Hospitals, assisting in taking samples for COVID-19 antigen testing, driving non-blue light ambulance transport, driving instruction, face fitting masks for front line NHS and clinical staff, the delivery of PPE and other medical supplies, assisting the Ambulance Service with driving and patient/ambulance support, moving deceased people and supporting the most vulnerable through deliveries.

These activities are in addition to Fire and Rescue Services maintaining the response to emergency incidents and carrying out core duties such as fire prevention and building safety work based on risk.