A report into West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s response to COVID-19 has been published by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services today.

The focused visit report follows an inspection of the service at the start of October last year.

The report highlights positive work including:

  • Staff wellbeing was a clear priority for the service during the pandemic.
  • That the service quickly implemented changes to the way it operates, allowing anyone who needed to work flexibly to be able to do so
  • That the service introduced new ways of working as well as further ways of supporting any staff with caring responsibilities and those who needed to shield
  • That the service continued to support the most vulnerable members of our communities, by prioritising those who needed help most.
  • The service adapted so that its prevention and protection work could be carried out remotely to ensure residents did not fall victim to fire
  • The HMICFRS also praised the service’s approach to working with other organisations throughout the pandemic, including representative bodies and the Local Resilience Forum.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said: “We are grateful to the inspectors for the time they spent looking at our response so far during COVID-19. Ensuring we provide the best fire and rescue service to our communities and making sure the staff stay safe fulfilling their duties is critical.”

Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “To say that we have been living through unprecedented times during the last 10 months would not be an understatement. But the can-do approach our people have taken to continuing their work, and crucially being there when our residents need help the most, has equally been unprecedented.

"I am incredibly proud of how they have stepped up to the mark to ensure West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service remains resilient in the face of adversity and on hand to keep our residents safe.”

You can read the full focused visit report on the HMICFRS website: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/