In August 2020, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) were commissioned by the Home Secretary to inspect how fire and rescue services in England are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They inspected Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) between 26 October and 6 November 2020. Focusing on the Service’s initial response to the pandemic, they wanted to answer some key questions:
- What is working well and what is being learnt?
- How the fire sector is responding to the COVID-19 crisis?
- How fire services are dealing with the problems they face?
- What changes are likely to happen because of COVID-19?
Today (Friday 22 January), HMICFRS published their outcomes from this piece of work.
The Service was congratulated for the positive and constructive way it engaged with the inspection. The HMICFRS were grateful for the positive contribution the Service has made to communities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland during the pandemic.
Importantly, HMICFRS praised that LFRS was well prepared for the pandemic and has continued to provide its core statutory functions throughout, continuing to respond to calls from the public and respond to emergencies.
Work outside of core duties was also completed, such as: delivering prescriptions and food to vulnerable people, assisting East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) by detaching Firefighters to drive Urgent Care Patient ambulances to over 200 patients, assembling and delivering over 5,250 face shields, and helping businesses to become COVID compliant.
Callum Faint, Chief Fire and Rescue Officer at LFRS, said: “The report is overwhelmingly positive. With pride, I would like to praise our staff and representative bodies for how they have responded and risen up to the challenge that COVID-19 has given us.”
The results letter covers several key areas:
- Preparation for the Pandemic
- Fulfilling Statutory Functions
- Staff Health and Safety and Wellbeing
- Working with others and making changes locally
- Use of resources
- Governance of the Service’s response
- Looking to the future.
Councillor Nicholas Rushton, Chair of the Combined Fire Authority, said: “I am proud of how the Service has responded to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The feedback from this HMICFRS visit shows just how much hard work has been undertaken across the Service; carrying out extra roles beyond core duties – such as ‘fit testing’ the face masks of over 300 key workers to ensure effectiveness, delivering controlled drugs, delivering and storing PPE, and assisting with ambulance transport.
“The Service has also quickly implemented changes to operations to enable staff to work flexibly and efficiently during the pandemic, and is actively looking at new ways of working, such as by conducting home fire safety checks by telephone.
“The Service maintained its response, prevention and protection statutory duties, whilst working proactively to provide additional support to partner agencies and the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“This feedback shows the ongoing positive journey that Leicestershire Fire and Rescue is going through, and I look forward to seeing the future changes and improvements made by the Service.”
As the pandemic continues, the Service is planning for the future and reviewing all feedback received from the HMICFRS, in order to ensure it delivers the most effective and efficient service possible to the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The letter can be viewed here. The HMICFRS are restarting their second round of effectiveness and efficiency fire and rescue inspections in Spring 2021, where they will follow up on their findings.
Notes to Editors:
Interviews can be arranged through prior arrangement with Corporate Communications on the details below.
About the Service
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service provides emergency response, prevention and protection services from 20 stations across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Its headquarters is based in Birstall, Leicester.
During 2019/20, we attended a total of 8,541 emergency incidents, including 2,079 fires and 748 road traffic collisions. A total of 7,274 Home Safety Checks were completed and we fitted 4,720 smoke alarms. 305 schools were visited as part of the Service’s schools programme, delivering fire and road safety education to 26,218 pupils. Staff organised or took part in 1,218 community safety activities, totalling over 11,000 hours of time engaging with members of the public.
The Service’s prevention, education, enforcement and inspection programmes have resulted in significant reductions in the number of incidents. In the last ten years, fire-related incidents have reduced by over 30 percent.
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