Praise for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service in COVID-19 inspection report
By Matt Hall | 25th January 2021
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) has been praised by government inspectors for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) between November 9 and 20 and the report, covering the first peak of the pandemic between April and June 2020, was published on Friday (January 22).
The report said GFRS had made a 'positive contribution to your community' and adapted well so it could continue to provide its core functions as well as extra support to its partners and the wider community.
It managed its resources effectively and maintained its ability to respond to emergencies.
"The service supported the people of Gloucestershire well during the pandemic and helped limit the spread of the virus," the report added.
Extra duties carried out by firefighters have included:
- Driving ambulances
- Delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies to NHS sites
- Moving the deceased
- Delivering essential items to vulnerable people
- Infection prevention and control training for care homes
- Assisting with mobile COVID-19 testing
- Delivering laptops so children can continue their education at home
- The report also pointed out the extra steps taken by the service to support the wellbeing of its staff, including black, Asian and minority ethnic, to tailor their support to those at higher risk of COVID-19.
To plan for the future, the report recommended GFRS focuses on adopting new and innovative ways of working introduced during the pandemic to make lasting improvements and ensuring its pandemic flu planning arrangements are comprehensive enough to meet the needs of the service and community.
Chief fire officer Wayne Bowcock said: "This report recognises the crucial role GFRS has played in the wider partnership response to COVID, whilst continuing to ensure we deliver on our statutory duties.
"I am extremely proud of the work done by our staff to ensure that the most vulnerable in the community are protected and supported during the pandemic. They have risen to many new challenges and since the inspection our efforts have expanded further to provide facilities and support for the mass vaccination and testing programme.
"Looking to the future, we will continue to review our plans and adopt improvements to provide the very best support to our communities during this pandemic and beyond."
Cllr Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service, said: "I'm delighted to see this report fully recognises how our Fire and Rescue Service has continued to maintain its effective response to fires and other emergencies, whilst also making such a positive contribution to our communities in the fight against the pandemic.
"Their incredible response has helped to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the people of Gloucestershire. I am particularly proud of the work they have done that extends far beyond their usual duties and am very grateful for their hard work and dedication."
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