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The Chief Fire Officer has paid tribute to how staff across the service have been pulling together during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over recent weeks West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has:

•             Helped distribute more than 700,000 items of PPE
•             Visited more than 700 vulnerable people or those on the National Shielding Register since May 23
•             Carried out 177 urgent welfare checks
•             Carried out 151 Safe & Well Visits
•             Carried out 61 urgent deliveries of medical supplies to vulnerable residents

Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “These have been extremely challenging times for us all, but like so many other organisations in the community, we have all pulled together to support those who need our help the most.

That is what being part of a community is all about – stepping in to help when the going gets tough, and I have been blown away by the offers of support from across all areas of the service – from people keen to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to ensure that no-one is left to fend for themselves.”

In addition, since the beginning of April, officers from the service’s Prevention team have been in touch with more than 1,000 residents, providing fire safety advice on the phone and via skype, making welfare calls and signposting people for support. They have also been delivering bespoke safety advice to resident’s doors along with a booklet full of helpful contact numbers and advice on staying safe and well.  The team has also created a wealth of online resources for parents highlighting the dangers of fire to help with home-schooling lessons. You can access these resources here.

The team has also carried out 151 Safe & Well Visits. These are checks for those residents who are at a very high level of risk, in person while maintaining social distancing and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Working alongside teams from West Sussex County Council and the Sussex Resilience Forum, the service has received more than 550 requests for PPE since early April, which have been picked, packed and delivered. Fire service drivers and other staff in the transport team have distributed more than 700,000 items of PPE over the last two months to care homes and other sites such as funeral directors and GP surgeries.

The service’s frontline firefighters have also been supporting the effort, carrying out 177 urgent welfare checks, delivering 61 urgent medical supplies and one urgent food drop since the end of April. In the space of a week (since May 23), they have carried out visits to more than 700 vulnerable residents or those on the National Shielding Register, while adhering to social distancing guidelines, and will continue to carry out these welfare visits this  week.

Four members of staff from the Service Training Centre have been seconded to help support SECAmb with the delivery of PPE. Working as part of a team, they are delivering more than 25,000 items of PPE a day across the South East.

Staff from WSFRS have carried out additional training alongside colleagues from SECAmb to allow them to support the ambulance service should they be required in the response to Covid-19.