Driving ambulances and delivering vital PPE are just two of the roles which have been taken on by Northamptonshire Emergency Services Volunteers (NESV) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NESV organisation was set up about a year ago as a joint venture led by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
The organisation works to recruit volunteers to support the work of emergency services in some functions, to help free up time for staff members to focus on their main roles.
Throughout this pandemic, NESV have been using a team of about 50 volunteers, supplying more than 1000 hours of time, who have been taking on duties such as making sure ambulances are fully stocked and replenished with PPE supplies.
NESV have also been driving ambulances where they need to be, for example to garage facilities in Nottinghamshire, or bringing vehicles back down to Northamptonshire when they are needed.
Many of the people who have committed time to the delivery of PPE to ambulance stations, already volunteer in another capacity as Community First Responders (who sign up to attend cardiac arrests in their area, if they are needed).
Volunteers from NESV have also been assisting with the work of the Northamptonshire Emergency Response Corps within the Community Resilience Hub, helping coordinate volunteers from many different agencies in the work they need to do to support the Covid-19 effort.
NFRS Group Commander Warren Ellison, , leading on the volunteering scheme on behalf of NFRS, said: “We have been so impressed by the enthusiasm shown by our volunteers to really get involved and supply help where it is most needed, such as in the delivery of PPE and making some welfare calls on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council. This pandemic has really proven the worth of volunteers who have been willing to give up their own time and support those at the frontline in this unprecedented challenge we all find ourselves in. We are looking forward to creating new opportunities in the future.”
Lee Brentnall, Ambulance Operations Manager at EMAS, said: “We have one fixed rota of people committing one or two days, working six to eight hours, over a five day period.
“These volunteers have been going over and above in their efforts to support where it is needed. They are working really hard and nothing seems to be a problem for them.
“One of our key priorities is our staff safety and welfare, providing the right PPE, and it is our priority to keep our workforce safe. I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the support of volunteers in what has been a national crisis. The value they have added to our organisation has been outstanding. ”
To find out more about how to volunteer with NESV, visit: https://www.northantsfire.gov.uk/work-for-us/volunteers/