Firefighters have agreed to deliver food and medicine, drive ambulances and retrieve bodies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under a new crisis agreement, firefighters will be able to deliver essential items such as food to vulnerable people, drive ambulances and assist ambulance staff, and collect bodies in the event of mass casualties.
The plan, agreed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), fire chiefs and employers, will see firefighters maintain core services such as attending fires and road traffic accidents, but also providing extra services as coronavirus continues to spread.
The plan will run for two months but can be extended if necessary and could affect the UK’s 48,000 firefighters and emergency control staff.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “We face a public health crisis unparalleled in our lifetimes.
“The coronavirus outbreak is now a humanitarian emergency and firefighters rightly want to help their communities.
“Firefighters are fantastic at teamwork, are experienced in driving emergency vehicles and, as a service rooted in the community, may be best placed to deliver essential items to the most vulnerable.
“Many fear the loss of life in this outbreak could be overwhelming – and firefighters, who often handle terrible situations and incidents, are ready to step in to assist with body retrieval.”
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