Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has responded effectively to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
The inspectorate has today (Friday 22 January) published a report on its COVID-19 inspection carried out virtually within the Service in October. It says that the Service has 'adapted and responded to the pandemic effectively and has had no difficulty meeting its statutory duties'. It also praises the additional humanitarian work the Service has undertaken and says staff have been well supported.
The report says that:
risks were anticipated and mitigated, including maintaining an appropriate level of fire cover
the Service transitioned quickly to homeworking for support staff
business continuity planning and management is one of its strengths
staff wellbeing is a priority, particularly for those most at risk from coronavirus
adequate PPE is available
savings have been made in other areas, where possible, to help cover pandemic-related costs.
The report highlights the range of humanitarian support being provided to the community. As of Sunday 17 January, the Service had delivered 11,895 medication or food parcels, covered 251 ambulance shifts, helped to establish a temporary mortuary, trained to fit face masks for the NHS and social care workers, delivered PPE and established a befriending scheme. It is now also assisting the NHS to carry out mass testing and providing staff to support the county's vaccination programme.
The only actions suggested by the report are adopting some of the new ways of working in the longer term and updating strategic plans using the lessons learnt, both of which the Service is already doing.
The full inspection can be seen on
the HMICFRS website (Opens in a new window).
Chief Fire Officer John Buckley said: "This report gives the public a positive, reassuring overview of the Service. I am particularly pleased that it highlights the massive amount of work we have been doing in the community, from delivering essential food and medication to volunteering for the vaccination programme.
"We will continue to learn lessons from the constantly evolving situation to improve the way we work in the future. I am confident that whenever the inspectors return, they will find us in an even stronger position."
Chair of the Fire Authority Councillor Michael Payne said: "Thank you to our entire team at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service – they've stepped up in very difficult circumstances to help protect the most vulnerable in our communities and play their part in supporting those who've needed help throughout this awful pandemic.
"From delivering food and medication to the vulnerable to supporting our local ambulance service and assisting with vaccination roll-out, our staff have shown the very best of public service and human nature. I'm delighted this outstanding effort has been recognised by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services."
In July 2017, HMICFRS extended its remit to include inspections of England's 45 fire and rescue services to assess their efficiency, effectiveness and staff. It was asked by the Home Office, in August, to look into how well services across the country were responding to the pandemic.