Playing now: Metro Station - Shake It

Playing next: -  

Humberside Fire and Rescue Prepares For 'New Normal'

Humberside Fire and Rescue Prepares For 'New Normal'

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Joe Gerrard at 8:56am 20th May 2020.

Humberside Fire and Rescue has begun preparing for a “new normal” after dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

Humberside Fire Authority members heard the early activation of backup plans and lower than expected staff absences helped the service respond to the outbreak and resulting lockdown.

Four staff members have contracted coronavirus so far, with three making a full recovery and one still in self-isolation.

The service has seen an average absence rate of 4.1 per cent, compared to 5.1 per cent nationally.

The financial cost to the service reached around £200,000 by the end of April with more than £900,000 received in government relief funds, a report submitted to the authority stated.

Chief Officer Chris Blacksell told the Fire Authority the health and wellbeing of staff would be the “paramount consideration” as the service prepares to return to normal.

Mr Blacksell said:

“Our full time stations have had 100 per cent availability throughout the lockdown, and our response times have been exceptionally good.

We’re starting to think about returning to normal and planning for the full delivery of services. But we don’t want to rush getting back to normal services”

We need to make sure health and well-being is the paramount consideration.  We want to look after everyone’s welfare as we move into whatever the new normal will be.”

I spoke to the new Fire Minister Kit Malthouse and he is very happy with absence rates. Ours were significantly below the national average."

Mr Blacksell said the service had activated its back up plans earlier than others, speeding up its response.

The chief officer added control rooms had been socially distanced and stations cleaned, with a turnaround of between two and three hours.

Some staff, including firefighters, have also performed additional duties including helping to deliver around 400,000 items of PPE to places such as care homes and pharmacies.

Mr Blacksell said:

“Some staff have been doing work to support the extremely vulnerable in their communities.

Others for example have been delivering food to those shielding. And some are also trained to drive ambulances so they’ve been taking people to and from hospitals and clinics.”

The chief officer said there had been no need to recall retired staff during the outbreak.

Mr Blacksell said:

“There was no need to bring retired firefighters back in because of the relatively low number of absences, but it is something we’re monitoring.

But there were changes in legislation on that to help us if we had needed to.”

Fire Authority Chairman Cllr John Briggs said the service’s response had been “very reassuring”.

It comes as the service’s overspend as a result of the crisis stood at more than £200,000 by the end of April.

A report to the Fire Authority stated extra costs had come from effects on staffing, PPE and supporting those working at home with IT equipment.

The authority received £919,000 from two tranches of government funding totalling £3.2bn for local authorities. The first payment was about £225,000 and the second totalled around £694,000.

 

 

Comments

No comments have been posted and approved yet.

Submit a Comment

Submit A Comment