From driving ambulances to shovelling snow at Covid vaccination centres...Northamptonshire's firefighters doing more than fighting fires

Inspector's report highlights crews going extra mile during pandemic

By Kevin Nicholls
Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 5:12 pm

Northamptonshire's firefighters added another task to their long list during the pandemic — shovelling snow.

Crews from around the county were out in force following Sunday's wintry weather helping to make sure people to get their Covid-19 vaccine jabs.

Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service had a salute from the top for their extra efforts during the crisis all while continuing with the 'day job' of answering 999 calls and keeping people safe.

Extra roles ranged from driving NHS ambulances and transferring deceased from hospitals to a temporary mortuary near Wollaston, delivering food and medicine to the vulnerable and checking on Northamptonshire’s care homes, the homeless and schools.

A report by Her Majesty's inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, Zoe Billingham, also recognised the importance NFRS placed on the safety and well-being of staff, who were under immense pressure during the pandemic.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said; “I’m pleased this report recognises that NFRS has worked hard and been willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the county moving and fight against the pandemic.

"Firefighters and staff have gone the extra mile to look after the vulnerable and to protect lives in Northamptonshire.

Firefighters from Brackley were out shovelling snow to make sure the local covid vaccination centre could continue giving out vital jabs

“When the pandemic started, we were in the middle of ambitious plans to improve the service and this report shows that not only did we manage to maintain those improvements, but they enabled us to manage our resources well and to avoid any negative impacts on our core role."

East Midlands Ambulance service trained 22 Northamptonshire firefighters — many of them part-time volunteers — to carry out support tasks such as driving Urgent Care vehicles and the safe moving and handling of patients.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold also thanked the NFRS firefighters and staff for their work.

He said: “This is a very challenging time for everyone and this report confirms my confidence that Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service are doing a great job for the people of this county.

Northants firefighters trained to work with East Midlands Ambulance crews during the pandemic

"I don’t underestimate the pressure that comes with continuing the day job while taking on roles to support other organisations and I thank everyone for the way they have got on with the task in hand."