Hundreds of firefighters have agreed to drive ambulances and assist paramedics to aid the London Ambulance Service’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The London Fire Brigade agreed on Wednesday that 300 firefighters would assist paramedics after last week’s national agreement between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the National Employers, and the National Fire Chiefs Council.
Firefighters are taking on the additional roles voluntarily and the London Fire Commissioner has been clear that no firefighter will ride an ambulance or support other services unless they are supplied with the right personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, praised firefighters, saying: “Their commitment to keeping Londoners safe on top of their usual jobs builds on the remarkable community spirit we are seeing across the capital.”
London firefighters have already begun assisting paramedics, as they are trained in basic life-saving skills and are qualified to drive blue-light vehicles.
David Shek, FBU executive council member, said:
“We can already see the devastating effect of coronavirus on London. All emergency services are playing a part while we can keep our core functions running and many of our members are proud to volunteer.
“We’re glad that the Fire Commissioner has assured us no firefighter will do this work without appropriate PPE. It’s vital that we keep ourselves safe while helping our communities.”