From 15 January, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) was part of an important joint Covid-19 community testing programme between the City and County Public Health Departments.
Directors of Public Health (City and County) have praised NFRS’ involvement as invaluable, stating that there would not have been the same successes in such a short period of time without the Service.
Our support team focused on the delivery of the Community Testing Programme, the asymptomatic testing of the public. However, teams also led on surge testing operations in Nottingham, and the targeted testing of symptomatic persons across the county.
Overall, NFRS staff completed 1,096 tests, trained 294 clinical test operatives and built 22 mass testing sites. However, the true testament to our involvement is that the Community Testing Programme has tested 81,858 people countywide.
Feedback from one site included: “It was an easy process, nice and quiet, signposted really well and [we] didn’t feel at risk at all”.
Another said: “everything was explained well, we are very impressed”.
While still running the community testing programme, we also responded to a major incident in the city centre, running surge testing for two weeks. The NFRS Covid Support team trained 416 people to undertake doorstep testing. We deployed 96 additional personnel to support surge testing, completing 1,006 tests of 2,424 in total - 41.5% of all tests.
Public Health’s expectations were a 20% success rate for doorstep testing – NFRS achieved 70%.
The Service’s efforts have successfully identified and suppressed Covid-19 within our communities, informing individuals who might have unknowingly infected others to isolate. This provided more time for the elderly and vulnerable to receive their full vaccination, reducing hospitalisations and deaths.
Consultant in Public Health from Nottingham City Council, Mandy Clarkson, congratulated the NFRS team:
“Thank you for coming together, pushing through despite the odds and the obstacles, and always looking for the sensible pragmatic way through to protect and enable our residents through this difficult time.”
The NFRS team modelled its behaviours on the Service Values and were successful in creating an inclusive and open workplace, which was commented upon by the Council’s Programme Director for Covid Response, Roz Howie:
“They are professional, create a values-driven culture, are always happy to help and have driven high consistent standards throughout all of our sites. They have an amazing can-do attitude, and nothing seems to faze them. Great team.”
Group Manager Andy Macey who has co-ordinated the Service’s support for partner organisations during the pandemic said:
“I cannot praise enough the Asymptomatic Testing teams hard work, dedication, flexibility and conduct. The team members have been a credit to the Service, great ambassadors and showcased the best NFRS can offer our partners.”