Firefighter colleagues from the region’s four fire and rescue services will be joining Yorkshire Ambulance Service to provide additional support during the current coronavirus pandemic.
The 48 volunteers (12 from each fire and rescue service – West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside) will be carrying out tasks including driving ambulances and other support roles.
This move follows a recent agreement between the National Employers, National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Brigades Union to support local authorities and the NHS.
Commenting on this development, Nick Smith, Executive Director of Operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We have always enjoyed a close working relationship with our fire and rescue service colleagues through the many incidents we attend jointly on a daily basis and through our collaborative approach to large scale emergency situations.
“During this unprecedented period, and arguably the greatest challenge the NHS has ever faced, we are extremely grateful for the additional support being provided by the region’s fire and rescue services. It means that we will have greater flexibility and resilience in our approach over the coming weeks to ensure patients receive the care they need.”
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer John Roberts said: “To help protect our communities during this unprecedented pandemic teamwork is more important than ever.
“We’ve always enjoyed a close relationship with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, so it’s great to continue this by working with ambulance crews as drivers and in other support roles.
“I believe that by developing our already solid partnership we will all benefit during this difficult time – especially the communities of Yorkshire we are so proud to serve.”
Chris Blacksell, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We work closely with our local NHS and ambulance services and have done so for many years. Whether it’s at an incident or supporting local initiatives that improve the health and safety of our communities, we are here to help one another in times of need.
“I’m proud of the response from my staff who have volunteered to support Yorkshire Ambulance Service during this time of high demand.
“As a fire service we have taken every necessary precaution to ensure our staff and our communities are kept safe during this time as we rally together to combat COVID-19, without impacting on our response as a fire and rescue service.”
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson commented:
“As a service we are here to make South Yorkshire safer and stronger. We could not be more willing, and able, to help out in any way we can during these extremely challenging times.
“Our firefighters are trained to an extremely high standard. They have a huge amount of experience in driving blue light vehicles and are very well respected in their local communities. I’m hugely proud of them all and know they will do a fantastic job when called upon.”
Andrew Brodie, Chief Fire Officer of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fire and rescue services help people to be and to feel safe, it’s why we exist. So we’re delighted to support Yorkshire Ambulance Service in helping those most in need during this difficult time for everyone.”