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Pandemic response work of Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service highlighted in report

23 July 2021

A report highlighting the work of Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service over the last year will go to Norfolk County Council’s cabinet for approval next month.

The annual statement of assurance gives details of finance, governance and operational issues, covers the year to the end of March and details the activity carried out which includes not only the service’s usual duties but also its Covid-19 pandemic response.

“I am very proud of the service’s ability to diversify and step up to work with other key agencies to play a crucial role in Norfolk’s pandemic response. This report highlights the work done, not just to maintain the safety of our communities in day to day work, but to rise to the challenge of taking on new activities for the benefit of everyone in Norfolk in what has been the most difficult of times,” said Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships.

The report highlights:

  • The resources available within the service to help it achieve its mission to make Norfolk a safer place.
  • Day to day collaborative working with other NCC departments and blue light services
  • The service’s invaluable pandemic response, including taking on duties to assist other agencies such as EEAST, the NHS and Norfolk Constabulary
  • During 2020/21 the service attended 2,060 fires, a decrease from 2,299 on 19/20 and 503 road traffic collisions (down from 678 the year before).
  • An increase in the total number of incidents attended across Norfolk, up from 7,132 in 2019/20 to 7,493 in 2020/21.
  • An increase in firefighter availability across rural communities, up to 92.2% (19/20 83.4%) largely due to staff being unable to carry out primary employment (due to furlough or workplace closure) so more readily available to offer their services to fire and rescue
  • That during the first wave of the pandemic (April-July 2020), 73 members of staff (mainly firefighters) carried out 13,215 hours of driving emergency ambulances for EEAST
  • The work of fire and police driver trainers worked with the NHS to train 184 of their students to drive ambulance
  • Efforts to move thousands of pieces of vital medical equipment around Norfolk to different NHS locations
  • That in the second wave of the pandemic (Jan 2021), 89 staff Volunteered to work with the NHS to assist with mask fitting for staff, Covid-19 swab testing and vaccination support at the county’s 3 acute hospitals and at 3 medical centres
  • Work by five members of staff to support the temporary mortuary pathway between Feb-April 2021.

The pandemic also saw many activities paused or moved online to reduce interactions in order to keep both crews and Norfolk communities safe and maintain a full operational incident response. This was achieved throughout the year.

Home fire safety visits were still carried out face-to-face for high risk properties, but advice given via phone or online in non-urgent cases. Crucial crew events for young people were suspended and safety content created online. Urgent fire safety audits and enforcement work was still carried out face to face, with other advice given by phone/online.

NFRS operates on a revenue budget which in 2020/21 was £28.4 million net, 7% of Norfolk County Council’s overall net revenue budget. This equates to £31.29 (£32.96 2019/20) per head of population including capital charges.

Cabinet will discuss the report when it meets at 10am on Monday, 2 August. You can read the agenda papers and view the meeting online, live or afterwards.

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