Firefighters across the UK have been given new responsibilities to help tackle coronavirus, including delivering vital medication, driving ambulances and transporting the bodies of those who lose their lives.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU), fire chiefs and other employers have agreed a joint approach in response to the national crisis.
Although firefighters will continue to respond to core emergencies, they will also be able to:
- Deliver essential items like food and medicines to vulnerable people
- Drive ambulances and assist ambulance staff
- Retrieve fatalities, should the outbreak cause mass casualties
The new approach will initially take place for two months but can be extended if necessary.
Those taking part will be given additional training and protective equipment.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is now a humanitarian emergency and firefighters rightly want help their communities.
“To get through this, we must find ways to work together with other emergency services. Firefighters are fantastic at teamwork, are experienced in driving emergency vehicles and, as a service rooted in the community, may be best placed to deliver essential items to the most vulnerable.
“Firefighters and control staff have always stepped in when the public has been in danger and this crisis is no different. The strain on all emergency services will be great, but we can and will get through it together.”
Last night, thousands of people came out of their homes to applaud the work of NHS and other healthcare staff in the face of the epidemic.
One of those was Crowland Fire Station, who put out a video of their support.
Showing our support for the dedicated carers out there.
Thank You! pic.twitter.com/a7ErRLuE0u
— Crowland FireStation (@Crowland_fire) March 26, 2020
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