Shropshire Fire and Rescue (SFRS) has taken stringent measures to ensure public safety and support for the Government during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Community group meetings at fire stations have been stopped and are being carried out virtually where possible or have moved to different venues to minimise the impact on fire crews.
Home fire safety checks – called Safe & Well visits – have been limited to only the most high-risk vulnerable people and contingency plans have been put in place to ensure 999 emergency response will be provided as usual.
Fire Authority Chair, Councillor Eric Carter said: “Like so many emergency services, the fire service has to balance the risk of helping vulnerable people while limiting the spread of the virus through social distancing.
“The rules set out by the Government have been quickly implemented within Shropshire to ensure protection activities are carried out within the new guidelines.
“Staff at the Service are to be congratulated for adapting quickly and being so resilient in these unprecedented times.
“The coming weeks will be testing times for everyone and I’d personally like to thank all staff at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service but especially employers in supporting our on-call firefighters.
“On-call firefighters already have a job and respond to emergencies as and when needed. We are grateful to employers who are already under immense pressure for working with us and ensuring on-call staff can continue to provide cover on the front line.”
Chief Fire officer Rod Hammerton said: “This will be a challenging time for all emergency services.
“We have taken every measure to support and protect staff with social distancing and rigorous hygiene standards on stations and prevention activities continue for those who are most at risk in the safest way possible.”
Mr Hammerton added: “Staff have been fantastic in adopting new ways of working to keep people safe and I’d personally like to thank them for their commitment during this time and in the weeks ahead.”
“Plans are also in place to ensure that even if staff absences hit critical levels as estimated by the Government, we will still be able to provide an effective response to communities in Shropshire with resources from our 23 stations to be redeployed if necessary.”
Residents should remain confident that if they have a genuine emergency, they can still call 999. With an increased number of people staying at home, it is important to remain mindful of fire safety and to keep in touch with vulnerable family members or neighbours.
In the coming days we will be supporting residents with advice on guidance on how to stay safe while isolating.
For further information around home safety visit our website or for guidance around home fire safety call 01743 260200.