Cleveland Fire Brigade staff will now be offering to work with local partners to support care homes in the fight against COVID-19.

This new move follows a national agreement led by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the National Employer and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

Where there is a need this will include delivering training to staff on how to use and wear PPE properly, supporting staff on testing and training on infection prevention and control.

Chief Fire Officer, Ian Hayton, said: “This initiative means Cleveland Fire Brigade will be working with local partners and care home staff, assisting in the fight against COVID-19. This agreement means we can ensure those who need help, receive it.”

“Care homes remain a cause of concern in relation to COVID-19 cases. The Brigade’s’ knowledge, skills and capabilities mean we have a lot of expertise to offer and can play a significant role in helping care homes through training staff to increase their confidence and knowledge, while helping keeping residents safe.

“Once again, this shows Cleveland Fire Brigade staff are ready, willing and able to take on additional duties and help wherever support is needed during times of crisis.  This support and assistance is in the DNA of fire staff and shows their dedication and commitment to helping those who need it.”

The national agreement will be underpinned with a robust risk assessment to support those carrying out the work and to keep them safe. This will include appropriate training, appropriate PPE and high standards of hygiene, with social distancing in place.

Jean Golightly, Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group Director of Nursing and Quality said: “When we went to the LRF with our offer of an Infection Prevention and Control “Train the Trainer” programme to support our Care Homes, Cleveland Fire Brigade was one of the first organisations to step forward with personnel to support. This fantastic response is CFB’s typical way of working: Teesside people supporting Teesside people, and helps us all to deliver on challenging tasks.”

The fire and rescue service support will see, where needed, the delivery of pre-designed training packages on Infection Prevention and Control, including hand, hygiene, PPE use guidance and procedures, supporting the care home staff testing, for example training care home staff to train others, according to the principle of ‘train the trainers.’

This support to care homes comes in addition to activities already offered including: the assembly of single use face shields for the NHS and care work front line staff; packing/repacking food supplies for vulnerable people, transfer of patients to and from Nightingale hospitals;  Assisting in taking samples for Covid-19 antigen testing; driving non-blue light ambulance transport; driving instruction; face fitting masks for frontline NHS and clinical staff; delivery of PPE and other medical supplies; assisting the ambulance service with driving and patient/ambulance support; moving deceased people and supporting the most vulnerable through deliveries.

The activities are in addition to the Brigade maintaining its response to emergency incidents and carrying out core duties such as prevention and building safety based on risk.