Firefighters to help care workers as major incident declared in Northamptonshire


A system-wide major incident in Northamptonshire has been declared as a “worrisome” staff shortage, meaning firefighters may be prepared to help health and social care workers.

During a media briefing on Friday, County Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey called it a “positive” move that meant workers in all areas could be flexible.

However, Mr Dovey said he expects the situation to worsen before it gets better.

He told reporters: “We are very, very hopeful that this will be of relatively short duration compared to the original wave of Covid.

“But we think … that it’s likely to get worse over the next few weeks before it gets better.

“So it’s about making sure we’re really doing what the public expects us to do because they’re paying all of our salaries.”

General view of the equipment in the fire brigade (Rui Vieira/PA) , PA collection

Detailing why a major event was announced, Mr Dovey said: “Most of this pressure is being felt in the health and social care sectors … but as we are seeing across the country, Staff absenteeism rates are high, admissions are rising in the absence of hospital and social care and the pressure in that system is creating full system pressure.

“In order to coordinate our activity and help each other where we can, we felt that the best way to do this was to announce a major event and to set up structures to be able to deal with it.” Was.”

Addressing how employees can now be flexible after the announcement of the major incident, Mr Dovey said: “What it is all about is that all public agencies, instead of working in their own silos, effectively come together.” have been

“For example, firefighters driving ambulances, we’ve been doing this since the beginning of 2020, we’re going to continue to do that, but we think that could accelerate over the next few weeks.

“The big event gives us a framework to be able to make that request and to actively plan for it over the next few weeks.

“We have been asked potentially whether firefighters can help transport people to vaccination centers who may not be able to get there but may be vulnerable and need their boosters.