IW Fire service praised for Covid-19 response

By Chris Cornford Feb 1, 2021

The Isle of Wight and Hampshire fire services have been praised for their response to the Covid 19 pandemic following a top-level inspection.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has highlighted the way both services have adapted and responded to the crisis in order to fulfil their core role of protecting the public.

Neil Odin, Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I am proud of the part our services have played in supporting partners and the wider community throughout the pandemic. We have maintained full fire and rescue cover in all corners of the county and on the Island and have not only delivered our services, but we have reached much further to make life safer for our communities.

“We will now continue to play our part across the communities we serve and are ready to assist in whatever ways we can.”
During the inspection, it was found the services had up-to-date plans which understood the risks a pandemic presented and were able to continue to carry out ‘Safe & Well’ visits and fire safety audits whilst remaining Covid safe.

Both services continued to respond to calls from the public in a timely manner, effectively responding to fires and other emergencies, while also supporting neighbouring services and sending specialist resources to support nationally co-ordinated incidents.
Firefighters and other staff volunteered outside their normal day-to-day roles to take part in additional work to support the response in tackling Covid.
This included Island firefighters driving ambulances and delivering prescriptions to the most vulnerable members of their community. It meant Islanders were better supported through the pandemic thanks to these volunteers.

Cllr Chris Carter, Chairman of the Fire Authority, added: “It is humbling to know that so many people work tirelessly to make the communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight safer and stronger. The commitment and desire to go the extra mile to help others is apparent in the actions they carry out every day. I, and the authority, feel extremely proud of Hampshire and Isle of Wight fire services.”

The inspection into HFRS and IWFRS took place between October 20 and November 3, 2020.