Firefighters across Wales set to train to drive ambulances to help fight against coronavirus
Some firefighters in Wales could soon be swapping their fire engines for an ambulance as part of the fight against the coronavirus.
The Welsh Government has revealed training will begin in the near future in a bid to increase the capacity of the ambulance service during the Covid-19 outbreak.
It comes as Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn has written to express her gratitude to fire service staff for their hard work during the current crisis.
The Labour AM for Delyn said the government would provide full support to protect the safety of firefighters and ensure the service’s main role was also maintained.
As part of the response to coronavirus, fire services in south Wales have already deployed mass decontamination units to hospitals to serve as temporary triage facilities.
Firefighters nationally also played a crucial role in tackling the recent flooding caused by storms Ciara and Dennis.
In her letter, Ms Blythyn said: “I want to express my sincere gratitude to every member of the Welsh fire and rescue service for their service.
“Firefighters have a unique and extensive set of skills and capabilities and are rightly held in very high regard by the public.
“Our fire and rescue services have a long and proud tradition of reacting and working swiftly, effectively and above all selflessly in times of crises.
“There has never been a greater need for us to call on that tradition.
“The coronavirus outbreak represents one of the biggest challenges anyone of us have experienced and we know there will be additional pressures put on the service.
“I am confident the fire service will continue to make a real difference in the response to the pandemic in Wales.”
Firefighters have previously teamed up with the ambulance service in north Wales to help patients who had fallen at home as part of a trial.
It is understood the logistics of how they will assist during the current pandemic are being discussed between the government and both emergency services.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme)
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