Fire chiefs in Lincolnshire have “stepped up” planning for COVID-19 as union bosses call for interactions between firefighters and the public to be “temporarily scaled back”.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) yesterday said that the service’s “non-emergency” work such as fire safety visits and inspections, school visits, and public meetings, should be temporarily suspended to “reduce the exposure of firefighters to COVID-19 and to protect at-risk individuals from potential contamination from firefighters.”
In response, Lincolnshire’s Chief Fire Officer Les Britzman said the force’s actions mean “we can respond and provide the best possible service”.
“The safety of our staff and their welfare remains a primary concern, as such we continue to review our approach,” he said.
“It is our duty to keep our communities safe and protect them in times of emergency, so we need to make balanced decisions.”
He said the service was following national guidance and was reviewing the situation daily.
FBU’s general secretary Matt Wrack said the current situation was under “exceptional circumstances”.
The latest figures, as of Monday, said the number of reported COVID-19 cases in the UK stood at 1,391.
Public Health England has previously reported 35 people who had contracted the virus had died.
Greater Lincolnshire has had seven recorded cases.
The government, however, is no longer routinely testing everyone who reports symptoms, so the number is expected to be higher.
“Any non-emergency work that involves interaction with the public must be ceased immediately, as some services have already done, for the protection of both firefighters and the potentially at-risk individuals they interact with,” said Mr Wrack.
“As a core emergency service, firefighters and control staff need to be protected from infection as far as possible. When an emergency does happen, we need to ensure that firefighters are healthy and available in good number to respond.”
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