AF&RS wishes to reassure public on response capabilities

A major incident has been declared in the Avon and Somerset area in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The declaration, made at a meeting of the Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum (LRF) this afternoon, is solely to make sure all agencies are able to work together more effectively in the event of reduced staffing levels and an increase in demand.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) would like to reassure all our communities that as a Service we will continue to be there if you call 999 – no matter what.

We achieve this by taking advice from informed partners such as Public Health England, the Government and LRF partners, to prioritise our resources on emergency response while focusing our community engagement activity to support the most vulnerable.

This comes at an unprecedented period for emergency service and partner agencies across the country, but through careful planning and preparation, operational response will continue.

Simon Shilton, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for AF&RS, said: “Coronavirus is very much at the forefront of everyone’s mind at present and I appreciate these are worrying times.

“Despite the challenges ahead and the uncertainty it brings I would like to reassure you that as a fire & rescue service we have well-rehearsed business continuity plans in all areas of the organisation and we will continue to do business as usual where possible, ensuring we deliver our frontline services should the virus continue to spread.

“The advice is fast-paced and rapidly changing but our aim remains the same, to make our Service Strong and our Communities Safe.”                     

Our preparation and planning has enabled us to implement measures to ensure that we continue to provide the service that our communities deserve.

As part of our response to Coronavirus, AF&RS is taking the following steps to keep our staff and communities safe:

  • Firefighters will continue to respond to all 999 calls
  • All community events, including station visits have been cancelled until further notice
  • In line with government guidance AF&RS have made the decision to delay home fire safety visits but we will continue to assess those most at risk This is to mitigate the potential spread of the virus to those most susceptible. This may mean that the Service is not able to visit everyone until a later date, but home fire safety advice is being sent out to communities who have requested a visit and additional advice is available on our website (https://www.avonfire.gov.uk). Members of the public can continue to request a visit and information which we will arrange in due course.

For more information throughout the foreseeable future, please follow the Service on Twitter and Facebook.