Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) stepped up to the mark when it came to responding to the pandemic.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) made a virtual Covid-19 inspection last October. It highlighted how staff had volunteered to support their communities through ambulance driving and face fit testing for personal protective equipment, as well as continuing to educate and prevent fires – whilst also dealing with the largest wildfire in living memory at Wareham Forest.
Inspectors commented on the creative ways DWFRS continued to provide education to children and young people during 2020. This included online road safety education packages that received national attention and safety stories read by famous faces available on the Service’s YouTube channel.
Inspectors also noted the wellbeing support for staff put into place by the Service, including regular email communications, virtual meetings, flexible working arrangements (where possible) and management support. In total, the inspectors identified 66 areas of good practice, whilst highlighting two areas for focus.
Chief fire officer Ben Ansell said, “Staff across the Service have, and continue, to work tirelessly to support our communities through the coronavirus pandemic. We have seen all staff go above and beyond to help their communities, ensuring that we can still deliver our prevention, protection and emergency response functions. We have achieved this whilst also undertaking extraordinary roles to support our partners and, in particular, the NHS.
“We are continually looking for further ways to support our communities at this time, and this is displayed in the ongoing work to support South Western Ambulance Service and our partners across our two Local Resilience Forums. I am not surprised by the way staff responded to the pandemic, but I am always grateful to them for the work they do to support our communities across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Dorset, Swindon and Wiltshire.”
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