Firefighters from one of the country’s smallest fire and rescue services have now administered 10,000 vaccinations into the arms of Shropshire residents since mid-February.
Around 60 Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service staff – both operational and support - have worked with NHS partners to train and be redeployed at three centres across the county with one staff member celebrating his one thousandth jab today.
Bridgnorth On-call Firefighter Ian George said: “I really am so pleased to be helping make the county safer and playing a small part in bringing reassurance to people.
“I always feel I am keeping my community safe by being on-call firefighter and this chance to give vaccinations is no different. Every person I give a jab has left with a more positive outlook and to be able to do that 1,000 times makes me feel very proud – it’s a hugely rewarding job to be in.”
At the time of writing, the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) estimated that ‘more than’ 95,000 vaccinations had been given to the public by fire and rescue service staff across the country.
This figure equates to fire and rescue service staff having administered approximately one in 240 immunisations of the 25 million given so far.
In addition, some 500 hours a week of marshalling has also helped the flow of people and vehicles around the centres run smoothly at the Telford International Centre, Ludlow Racecourse and Shrewsbury Indoors Bowls Centre to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccinations.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dan Quinn said: “This is a huge achievement for us, as one of the smallest fire services in the UK it’s a big undertaking for our staff who have risen to the challenge every step of the way.
“We’re really happy to be working so effectively with our health partners to get staff trained and redeployed to support the roll out of this vaccine which is giving reassurance to so many people in our community.
“Our very ethos is to make Shropshire safer and we’re proud to be part of this drive to help get our community vaccinated as practically and as quickly as possible.
“I’m very proud of all our staff, the majority of whom already have emergency medical experience and have undergone training closely monitored by NHS colleagues. It’s been a fantastic show of collaboration and community spirit and another example of how we are ready, willing, and able to support our communities and partners."
This work is another example of how Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is adapting during the pandemic.
In addition, Safe and Well visits are also now being carried out as part of patient transfers for non-emergency care – another new role for the service along with providing mental health support to front line workers, helping to coordinate teams on site, providing medical assistance and implementing traffic management plans.
David Evans, Joint Accountable Officer for NHS Shropshire and NHS Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “We are grateful for the support of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service who have helped us to deliver vaccinations across the county.
“Staff from NHS organisations are working alongside volunteers from partners in the region to support the roll-out of the vaccination programme, helping us to give the vaccine to people who are eligible to receive it.
“I am proud of all our NHS staff and volunteers, some of whom have been temporarily seconded to the vaccination roll-out and others who are volunteering in addition to their existing jobs.”
Fire service personnel are working vaccination shifts around their existing workloads where possible and, in some cases, are working additional time outside of working hours and that emergency cover is not affected.