Northumberland Fire and Rescue has adapted and responded effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an independent review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

HMICFRS, who carried out the inspection in November 2020, looked at a number of areas including what is working well and what is being learnt; how the fire and rescue sector is responding to the COVID-19 crisis; how fire and rescue services are dealing with the problems they face; and what changes are likely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report highlights how NFRS was quick to adapt allowing the Service to respond to the pandemic effectively. It also praised how the service was able to continue to safely provide fire prevention advice to our most vulnerable members of the community and prioritising the health and wellbeing of staff. Also mentioned within the assessment is the Service’s adaptability to changing the way it works and effective partnership working.

Unlike previous inspections, there was no grading for fire and rescue services, instead the Inspectorate produced a narrative response setting out their assessment of the effectiveness of the Service’s response to the pandemic.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley said: “I welcome this report from HMICFRS which reflects how we have responded to the challenges of the pandemic and how we adapted the way we work to maintain our full range of emergency response and risk critical functions.

"The report recognises the hard work and dedication of staff across the service who have been involved in supporting the county council and other partner agencies in delivering their vital services to our communities.

"As a service we will also build on the achievements highlighted by HMICFRS to improve what we do and how we do it.”

Councillor John Riddle, Northumberland Fire Authority chair, said: "The report is a really positive one and gives people in Northumberland further confidence that their local fire and rescue service is prepared and able to respond to the challenges presented by the covid crisis.”