West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is taking part in the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Ready, Willing, Able campaign launched today (Wed 15 April).
The initiative, backed by the Home Office, shows how fire and rescue services in the UK are going the extra mile to protect and support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Firefighters and WMFS staff across the West Midlands will be taking to social media to share stories and videos about how they’re using their wide range of skills to offer community reassurance and help, in response to the national crisis.
As well as continuing to respond to emergency calls, the National Fire Chiefs Council has agreed with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Fire and Rescue Employers that the UK’s fire and rescue staff will carry out additional activities. These include assisting the ambulance service with driving and body retrieval, supporting the most vulnerable through deliveries, carrying out ‘face fitting’ for masks used by frontline NHS and clinical staff and delivering PPE and medical supplies.
Already across the West Midlands, almost 250 food and medicine parcels have been delivered by WMFS staff who have volunteered for the extra activities, with many more scheduled for this week from six hubs across the WMFS area.
Deliveries have included more than 40 food parcels to vulnerable people in Darlaston and Willenhall, 30 food and medical supplies packages across Sandwell and Birmingham, 60 food packages to a health centre in Winson Green and a special delivery of Easter eggs to children over the bank holiday weekend.
Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer for West Midlands Fire Service, said: “I am immensely proud of WMFS staff for being ready, willing and able to carry out these additional roles, supporting our local communities. This national campaign drives home not just their commitment, but the vital role they are playing in minimising the impact of COVID-19.
“There are so many heart-warming stories already, which we’re looking forward to sharing across our website and social media platforms over the next few weeks.”
Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority added: “I am overwhelmed by the response of the entire WMFS workforce who have immediately volunteered for the additional duties. The Fire Authority is extremely grateful. It is testament to the commitment and dedication of WMFS personnel to serve the communities of the West Midlands and keep them safe during this crisis“.
Delivery of critical care continues today, providing medical supplies and food packages across the West Mids, to the vulnerable and to shielded households. Thank you so much to @JLR_News for providing vehicles which have been crucial in helping those in need. pic.twitter.com/pUzS08jC7G
— West Midlands Fire Service (@WestMidsFire) April 10, 2020
The additional work taken on by firefighters to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic will initially be in place for two months.