Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has willingly taken the opportunity to join with local authorities to boost support for the COVID-19 vaccination roll out.
More than 40 firefighters and support staff have initially volunteered for roles. They will be involved with assisting wheelchair users access vaccination centres safely, traffic and crowd management and logistical support with further roles set to be introduced. This will all be coordinated through an officer to ensure the service’s teams are deployed to maximum effect to support the roll out of vaccinations.
Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, said, “We have been ready, willing and able to support the national fight in combating COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and now we are working alongside our local authority and health partners.
“Our firefighters and support staff have been determined to play a part in fighting COVID-19 wherever they could and at this crucial time the best thing we can do is work with our partners to support the vital vaccination programme.
“We have staff with medical and driving expertise as well as people management skills that we are happy to use wherever we can help. They are all volunteers who are putting themselves forward to do this vital work above and beyond their normal duties so I am confident we can provide a boost to the vaccination programme alongside maintaining all our usual services.
“We are incredibly pleased and proud to be able to assist in the roll-out of the vaccine and contribute to making Shropshire safer.”
In addition, lateral flow testing is also being introduced at stations this week for operational staff, providing reassurance not only for staff but also for the residents they serve while working in the community, often with some of the most vulnerable people in their homes, with businesses and responding to emergencies. These new roles are in addition to work already being carried out by the service, including assisting partners with deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) and helping to fit face masks for front line workers in care homes and health settings.
Mental health support has also been delivered through a network of Trauma Risk Incident Management (TRIM) practitioners for frontline staff such as NHS, care home workers and mental health teams.
Councillor Dean Carroll, Cabinet Member for public health and adult social care, said, “I’m delighted colleagues from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are supporting us and our NHS partners in the roll out of Shropshire’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
“Working in partnership with organisations and local communities across Shropshire is instrumental in our efforts to fight this pandemic. We are all in this together. We continue to work closely with our local NHS colleagues and other key organisations to support the NHS delivery of the vaccine.
“Our customer contact centre has made more than 5000 calls to frontline health workers and residents to help book vaccination appointments.
“The council is also offering additional support to ensure the programme is delivered locally, including helping people with transport to the vaccination centre where needed, delivering the IT infrastructure to centres, project support, liaising with care home teams and volunteer recruitment.”