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A national inspection has praised the response by Humberside Fire and Rescue Service to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An independent letter by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) was released following a COVID-19 inspection between 12 to 23 October 2020.

A series of virtual inspections were carried out at all UK fire services to find out how the fire sector is responding to the COVID-19 crisis including how fire services are dealing with the problem they face and what changes are likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The inspection considered evidence gathered from the Service’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic from April to June 2020.

The letter praises Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) for its preparedness and effectiveness in maintaining its core responsibilities; firefighting, promoting safety through prevention and protection work, rescuing people in road traffic collisions, and responding to emergencies, whilst working with partner agencies as part of the Local Resilience Forum to support the community during the pandemic.

It acknowledges how HFRS has looked after staff wellbeing, ensuring they have enough PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to continue working effectively to support the community.

Message from Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Chris Blacksell:

“I’m humbled by the ongoing support and dedication from staff throughout this pandemic to keep their colleagues, families and the wider community safe during this time. I am therefore, incredibly proud that the HMICFRS recognises what our staff have achieved to support the community and Local Resilience Forum throughout the pandemic.

“I’m pleased that the HMICFRS were able to complete this inspection during the pandemic using methods such as virtual meetings to ensure the safety of all. I wholeheartedly praise the work our colleagues in the NHS continue to do 24/7, and we all have a part to play to help keep everyone safe. I urge everyone to continue to follow the guidelines and remember Hands, Face and Space. We are all in this together and we will continue to work collaboratively with our partners and communities to support us all through the pandemic.”

Here is the summary from the letter:

The service adapted and responded to the pandemic effectivity and continued to maintain its statutory functions throughout. It provided extra support to the community during the first phase of the pandemic. It predominantly used its wholetime (Full-Time) firefighters to respond to emergencies. It used the increased availability of its On-Call and prevention and protection staff to deliver medicines and food to vulnerable members of the community. On-Call staff were trained to drive ambulances and to support mortuaries, but ultimately this support wasn’t needed. The service managed resources well and its financial position was largely unaffected, especially as it didn’t have to use reserves to cover extra costs.

The service was able to respond quickly to staff absences, and it implemented changes to build resilience in its control room. It communicated well with its staff throughout the pandemic, particularly issues relating to staff safety and wellbeing. It also made sure all staff had the resources they needed to do their jobs effectively, by providing extra IT equipment and putting in place new flexible working arrangements.

The full letter can be read at the HMICFRS website, by clicking here.