Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has been awarded £660,000 funding from the Home Office to support additional costs during the pandemic.
The funding will be used to help cover costs for items like personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitising products to allow firefighters to safely carry out their roles and ICT equipment to allow staff to work remotely and from home.
Every fire service in the country has been given additional funding through this stream however Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold had already written to the Fire Minister, highlighting the unique financial circumstances of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, which transferred to the governance of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner with no financial reserve.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has been carrying out a range of extra roles in support of the Local Resilience Forum, which co-ordinates the county’s response to managing the emergency.
Firefighters have been trained to drive urgent care vehicles for the East Midlands Ambulance Service; have assisted in the distribution of food parcels to vulnerable people; have delivered medication to vulnerable people for community pharmacists and have taken on the task of moving dead bodies from the county’s hospitals to temporary mortuaries.
This additional funding means that NFRS can continue to take on those extra responsibilities without putting the safety of firefighters and staff at risk and without impacting the service’s ability to carry out business as usual and support their long-term viability.
However, the financial impact of Covid 19 will continue to be monitored so that any longer-term impact on the finances of NFRS can be managed.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “We wrote to the Fire Minister to ask for some support for NFRS, which has made such great improvements in the service it gives to the people of this county and which is providing so many extra functions. This additional money is a welcome boost and I am pleased that the Minister acknowledged the unique changes that our fire service faces.”
Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey, of NFRS, said: “Firefighters are committed to supporting the community in any way they can and are proud of the vital support they are providing. We have made sure that all of our people at NFRS are properly protected during this pandemic so that their safety is protected as they go the extra mile to protect others.
“It’s great that the Government has recognised the pressure on the service and helped to fund that, so we can carry on with business as usual and planning and making the improvements that people want to see.”