Nottinghamshire Fire Service response to Covid pandemic is praised by Inspectorate

Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS) has responded effectively to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 2:20 pm

The inspectorate has published a report on its Covid-19 inspection carried out virtually within NFRS last October.

It said NFRS had ‘adapted and responded to the pandemic effectively and had no difficulty meeting its statutory duties’.

It also praised the additional humanitarian work NFRS has undertaken and said staff had been well supported.

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Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue is responding effectively to the pandemic. Photo: Google Earth

The report went to say that risks were anticipated and mitigated, including maintaining an appropriate level of fire cover, that NFRS transitioned quickly to homeworking for support staff, that business continuity planning and management is one of its strengths, that staff wellbeing is a priority, particularly for those most at risk from coronavirus, that adequate PPE is available and that savings have been made in other areas, where possible, to help cover pandemic-related costs.

The report highlights the range of humanitarian support being provided to the community.

As of January 17, NFRS had delivered 11,895 medication or food parcels, covered 251 ambulance shifts, helped to establish a temporary mortuary, trained to fit face masks for the NHS and social care workers, delivered PPE and established a befriending scheme.

It is now also assisting the NHS to carry out mass testing and providing staff to support the county’s vaccination programme.

The only actions suggested by the report were adopting some of the new ways of working in the longer term and updating strategic plans using the lessons learnt, both of which NFRS is already doing.

The full inspection report is here.

John Buckley, NFRS chief fire officer, said: “This report gives the public a positive, reassuring overview of the service.

"I am particularly pleased that it highlights the massive amount of work we have been doing in the community, from delivering essential food and medication to volunteering for the vaccination programme.

“We will continue to learn lessons from the constantly evolving situation to improve the way we work in the future.

"I am confident that whenever the inspectors return, they will find us in an even stronger position.”

Coun Michael Payne, chairman of the Fire Authority, said: “Thank you to our entire team at NFRS – they’ve stepped up in very difficult circumstances to help protect the most vulnerable in our communities and play their part in supporting those who’ve needed help throughout this awful pandemic.

“From delivering food and medication to the vulnerable to supporting our local ambulance service and assisting with vaccination roll-out, our staff have shown the very best of public service and human nature.

"I’m delighted this outstanding effort has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.”

In July 2017, the Inspectorate extended its remit to include inspections of England’s 45 fire and rescue services to assess their efficiency, effectiveness and staff.

It was asked by the Home Office, in August, to look into how well services across the country were responding to the pandemic.