Non-operational staff from across West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) have today (Mon 6 April) started to deliver essential care packages to vulnerable people.
Hundreds of staff from across the organisation have volunteered to deliver vital services to those who are currently ‘shielded’ because of COVID-19 or otherwise vulnerable or isolated.The volunteers’ willingness to come forward means that WMFS can support the work of its Local Resilience Forum (LRF) partners in delivering crucial support to West Midlands residents in extra need during the challenging circumstances created by the pandemic.
Today, our volunteers delivered 20-plus packages of medical supplies across Birmingham to the homes of children being treated in the community.
It follows a national agreement for fire and rescue service staff to take part in a number of extra duties which would not normally form part of their role.
Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach praised the volunteers’ commitment. “I am grateful to everyone involved in reaching the agreement that has made our involvement possible, those planning how we deliver these activities and to the volunteers themselves for their selfless contribution.
“It all means that we are ready, willing and able as a service to commit to supporting our communities in these unprecedented times, whilst maintaining delivery of our critical emergency response services.
“Initially, non-operational staff will be involved in the delivery of essential items such as food and medical parcels. The health and well-being of our staff will remain front and centre of everything we do.”
Added CFO Loach: “Our preparations continue at pace for how our operational staff will deliver other extra activities to be undertaken by fire and rescue services.
“A whole raft of other changes to how we work - be that in Fire Control, at our fire stations and other sites, and in teams across the organisation – have been made necessary by circumstance and achieved at great speed. The changes have thrown a spotlight on the talent, ingenuity and commitment that can be found throughout WMFS.”
One of the WMFS volunteers who took part in today’s deliveries, Kate Alliss, said: “After seeing what NHS staff are facing, and thinking about the efforts of people like supermarket staff and delivery drivers, I just wanted to do what I could.
“When we arrived at people’s homes today they were very thankful. It really helps to know that we’re making a difference.”
Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, added: “Volunteers from across West Midlands Fire Service are playing an important role in supporting the more vulnerable members of our communities. It is typical of the spirit we are seeing across the organisation, and the Fire Authority is extremely grateful for everyone’s efforts.”
WMFS has established a dedicated team to oversee these extra activities, complementing the work of six ‘hubs’ established across the West Midlands from which a range of LRF agencies will deliver many of their pandemic-related work.