Emergency services could soon team up to help county during coronavirus crisis

The EEAST could see their vehicles manned by fire and rescue crews during the COVID-19 outbreak. Pic

The EEAST could see their vehicles manned by fire and rescue crews during the COVID-19 outbreak. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Firefighters from Hertfordshire could soon be drafted in to drive and crew ambulances as part of plans to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

The East of England Ambulance Service has already approached Hertfordshire County Council, which runs the county’s fire service and according to a report a “solution is being worked upon”.

The report says that throughout the outbreak the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has maintained availability of fire engines and control staff.

Hertfordshire County Council has yet to publicly comment on the specifics of the ‘solution’.

But the East of England Ambulance Service has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they are “very grateful” and are looking forward to working with them.

EEAST chief operating officer Marcus Bailey said: “We are very grateful to our blue light colleagues in the fire and rescue service and look forward to working closely with them to keep our patients, staff, volunteers and the wider public safe.

“COVID–19 represents an unprecedented challenge for all of us and we truly appreciate the fantastic support we have received from the fire service, the public, businesses and our other partners.

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“We would urge people to continue to play their part in helping the NHS by taking extra care of themselves, only going out for essential items, observing advice about hand-washing and maintaining social distancing.”

Meanwhile the report to the county council’s special cabinet panel also highlights the role being played by officers from the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to deliver medicines to vulnerable residents in urgent need.

The deliveries have been made as part of Operation Shield – which aims to support the county’s residents who are at highest risk because of underlying health conditions.

According to the report there are 15,649 people in Hertfordshire who have been identified in the first ‘shielded’ cohort.

Of these 3245 residents have already indicated that they need some help or support with the supply of food or medicines.

According to the report, by April 7, there had been 700 food parcels delivered to residents in these vulnerable groups, with a further 900 food parcels also being delivered to families in crisis and to food banks.

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