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Fire service praised for positive pandemic approach

January 22 2021

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been praised by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) for how it has responded to the coronavirus pandemic. 

HMICFRS published its findings in a report following an inspection of how each of the 45 fire and rescue services in England responded to the challenges of tackling Covid-19. 

The report found that the service “responded to the pandemic effectively” and inspectors were “particularly impressed with its preparations”. 

In its report, HMICFRS said: “We were particularly impressed with the service’s preparations for the pandemic, especially that it had anticipated many of the pandemic’s impacts and had put measures in place to mitigate them.”

The regulator recognised that the service “gave additional support to the community” during the pandemic and “used its wholetime firefighters to respond to emergencies, support vulnerable people in the community and help partner agencies”. 

This action, the report said, “increased availability of its on-call workforce helped the service to continue to be able to respond to emergencies” and “meant the people of Staffordshire were well supported through the pandemic”. 

Other findings noted by the HMICFRS were:

  • Staff were supported in relation to their mental health thanks to the service’s partnership work
  • The service adapted to change effectively and quickly – putting homeworking arrangements in place and procuring suitable IT infrastructure efficiently
  • It took on new additional activities in communities to help with the pandemic, including the packing/repacking food for vulnerable people; delivering PPE; and antigen testing. 

Throughout the pandemic, the report said, the fire service continued to respond to calls from the public and attend emergencies; prioritising its support for those most vulnerable in the community

The service has also continued to work with local businesses to make sure they comply with fire safety regulations and moved its Safe and Sound schools’ education programme completely online. 

I am very proud of all of the team for their continued efforts in such challenging circumstances and I am pleased that HMICFRS has delivered such a positive report which recognises this.

Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant

Speaking of the findings of the report, Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant, said: “I am very proud of all of the team for their continued efforts in such challenging circumstances and I am pleased that HMICFRS has delivered such a positive report which recognises this.

“I am particularly pleased that the inspectors recognised all the additional work staff have been doing to support the vulnerable in our communities during the pandemic and that colleagues have been praised for their consistent adaptability to change. 

“We are working hard to ensure all these positive results are maintained as well as looking to further support on call staff in ways that are best suited to their needs. 

“We are determined to continue to deliver the best possible service to the people of Staffordshire throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

A copy of the report is available to download at: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/fire-and-rescue-services/.

For more information on the inspection, visit: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/fire-and-rescue-services/how-we-inspect-fire-and-rescue-services/.