Union calls for contact between firefighters and public to be scaled back to prevent spread of coronavirus

Union leaders are calling for interaction between firefighters and the public to be drastically scaled back to limit coronavirus contamination

Monday, 16th March 2020, 3:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 1:31 pm

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said non-emergency work such as fire safety visits and inspections, school visits and public meetings, should be temporarily suspended to reduce the exposure of firefighters to Covid-19 and to protect at-risk individuals from potential contamination from firefighters.

A number of fire and rescue services have already taken measures to restrict interaction between firefighters and the public, despite little directive from central government.

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The Fire Brigades Union is calling for interaction between firefighters and the public to be scaled down amid coronavirus fears

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Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “While the FBU fully supports public engagement and preventative work as essential to improve fire safety, these are exceptional circumstances.

“Any non-emergency work that involves interaction with the public must be ceased immediately, as some services have already done, for the protection of both firefighters and the potentially at-risk individuals they interact with.

“As a core emergency service, firefighters and control staff need to be protected from infection as far as possible.

“When an emergency does happen, we need to ensure that firefighters are healthy and available in good number to respond.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said coronavirus is ‘a very significant challenge’ that will ‘disrupt the lives of almost everybody’ in the UK.

Mr Hancock told Sky News “The measures that we're taking, the measures that we're looking at taking are very, very significant and they will disrupt the ordinary lives of almost everybody in the country in order to tackle this virus.”