Firefighters and support staff join vaccine rollout

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is joining the national and local endeavour to vaccinate huge numbers of people in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the very beginning of the pandemic last year, operational and support staff across the Service have been working to support partner organisations in communities across Merseyside, through activity such as delivering prescriptions and food parcels to vulnerable people, helping out at food banks and assisting at mass testing sites.

After a recent staff survey which showed that staff have pulled together in an extraordinary way during the pandemic, staff across the Service are now rolling their sleeves up to show they are ready, willing and able to take on the next challenge.

With the recent steep rise in transmission rates, MFRS staff are proving yet again that they will do all it takes to assist blue light colleagues, NHS, local councils and a wide range of other partners in the efforts to get the vaccine to as many people as possible. Staff have been working tirelessly behind the scenes with partner agencies via the Local Resilience Forum, which includes Local Authorities, Health and Social Care partners and other blue light services all working together in helping to tackle the pandemic. The history of strong joint working between the Service and partners along with the Service’s deep connection with the community in Merseyside has made efforts particularly effective.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has confirmed that over 150 staff, including firefighters and support staff will once again step forwards and assist by fitting personal protective masks for key workers, providing administration support and delivering immunisations as the national COVID-19 vaccination programme gathers pace across the country.

After putting out a call for volunteers, the Service has been inundated with offers of support from staff who understand the pressure colleagues are facing and want to be part of the solution. The volunteers’ commitment to their community has been widely praised by our officers involved in the local and national response:

Group Manager Mark Thomas has worked closely with partners to achieve the recruitment, training and deployment of MFRS volunteers, and had this to say:

”It is truly incredible and huge credit to all of our staff that we are able to offer such support to our Health colleagues right when the country needs it most. We have worked extremely closely with partners to ensure our staff are working in the right place with the right people following the right training.

“We know that this support will directly help some of the most vulnerable people in Merseyside – our staff should be rightly proud of their contribution.”

Firefighter Nathan Haynes, just one of the many volunteers to step forward, commented on why he wanted to volunteer:

“This is an opportunity to directly join the fight against COVID. The virus has affected so many lives across the UK, which is why I feel it is important to offer my support within the community of Merseyside. COVID has presented individuals and communities with both physical and mental challenges that have never been faced before. It has been the result of families and friends becoming disconnected at a time where loved ones are needed most.

For me personally a family member was recently admitted to hospital and understandably, we were unable to visit and support them during such a tough time, a situation that has affected so many. To be able to contribute in making steps towards stopping the spread of COVID with the hope of regaining regular human interaction is a great opportunity.”

Training will be delivered by both St John Ambulance and the NHS and will be a blend of face-to-face and electronic learning to NHSE standards. Our first cohort starts their training on Monday. Safeguards are in place so ensure the safety of the Service volunteers and that the Service is providing highly skilled and professionally trained vaccinators to the sites.

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