Welsh FRSs praised for vital ambulance service support throughout pandemic 

The National Fire Chiefs Council has praised staff volunteers at the three Fire and Rescue Services in Wales, for their hard work and commitment to supporting local ambulance colleagues, during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Since May 2020, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service have worked in partnership with colleagues at the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST), with a pool of volunteers ready, willing and able to carry out a number of support roles. 

Over the last eight months, volunteers at Mid and West Wales FRS have undertaken 349 shifts and completed an estimated 4,105 hours of work with WAST. 

Four volunteers at North Wales FRS began their WAST support in December 2020 and have since carried out 128 driving shifts, approximately 1,536 hours’ cover. 

And at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, volunteers have been supporting WAST since July 2020, carrying out 4,560 hours’ support in over 380 shifts.  

I am very proud of all Welsh FRS colleagues who have stepped forward & come together as one team to undertake this vital duty.

CFO Chris Davies

Speaking about the UK FRS response, NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher, said:  “I am immensely proud of crews in Wales for offering this vital support during COVID-19, while continuing to respond to emergenciesWAST colleagues have expressed their appreciation for the FRS support which has allowed them to increase their capacity and effectively carry out their essential emergency work. 

I am grateful too, to all FRS staff that have supported their local ambulance service during the pandemic and who have gained extra skills and insight as a result of this additional activityThis commitment to their communities during such a critical time is typical of Fire and Rescue Services and a true reflection of their continued humanity and care. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 22 FRSs in England and Wales (almost half) have supported their local ambulance service with 12 FRSs having carried out over 9,300 blue light and non-blue light patient transfers in the last four weeks alone.  

Commenting on the support his staff have offered to the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST), Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies QFSM from Mid and West Wales, added: The three Fire and Rescue Service’s in Wales have been working in partnership with the Welsh Ambulance Service for the last 20 years so it was only natural that we continued that support by providing driver resilience and ensuring our operational staff are on hand to drive non-blue light vehicles.  

“I am very proud of all of the Welsh FRS colleagues who have stepped forward and come together as one team to undertake this vital duty and I am grateful to WAST for providing the appropriate training that has allowed staff to be mobilised as needed.” 

“Also, as of this week, Welsh firefighters have been assisting health boards to enhance the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine to their communities. 

I am delighted that we have been able to fulfil a request for assistance from our partners to assist with the transportation of people within their communities to and from Mass vaccination centres, set up to assist in the administering of the COVID-19 vaccination.” 

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