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Inspectors impressed with fire service's pandemic response

A report published this week reveals inspectors were left ‘impressed’ with how Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) had responded to the Covid-19 pandemic so far. 
Cambs fire
Inspectors have been impressed with the covid-19 response from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough fire services ( Photo: John Baker)

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) was commissioned at the end of last year by the Home Secretary to inspect all fire and rescue services in the country to see how the sector was responding to the pandemic. 

The inspection team visited CFRS in October and assessed all services in the following areas:  

  • How the fire sector is responding to the Covid-19 outbreak 
  • What is working well and what is being learned 
  • How the sector is dealing with the problems it faces 
  • What changes are likely or appropriate for the Fire and Rescue Sector as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

And on Friday it published its findings along with a report for all other fire and rescue services. 

Of particular note, the inspection team was impressed with how the Service had put the health and wellbeing of its people at the forefront of decision-making, something Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland has championed throughout. 

Chris said: “Our people are our greatest asset and we recognised from the start the impact this was going to have on our staff. We are an emergency service and have a duty to prevent fires, protect people and respond to incidents even during a global pandemic so we had to very quickly find ways to carry on doing this but in a way that protected our staff as much as we could.

"This involved rapidly procuring the right personal protective equipment (PPE), putting in measures to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace and asking our officers and professional support staff to work from home where they could. 

“Our staff have been fantastic and I’m delighted that the inspection team recognised the importance we have put on health, safety and wellbeing. Not only have staff adapted well to the changes, they have been volunteering to assist partner agencies where possible, driving ambulances, training ambulance drivers, checking in on those shielding and fitting face masks in hospitals.

"We’ve had a great response recently too asking if staff would like to volunteer to help the vaccination programme to support our NHS partners and next week we should have staff helping across the county at local vaccination centres. I’m immensely proud of everyone who works here for the way they have stepped up and risen to the challenge.” 

Chairman of the Fire Authority, Councillor Kevin Reynolds, added his praise: “The report is extremely positive and gives people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough further confidence that their local fire and rescue service is prepared and able to deal with unprecedented and unforeseen scenarios of any kind, including a global pandemic. But not only that, it is managing to support partner agencies too in delivering their vital services.” 

The detailed report can be found here