Operations Control asking key COVID questions to support firefighter safety

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Operations Control staff have been supporting firefighter safety during the Coronavirus pandemic by ascertaining COVID-19 information during 999 calls to ensure Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews are safely equipped before mobilising to an emergency.

This has involved asking a series of questions to obtain extra details about any environment that firefighters in Scotland may be asked to enter, especially when entering homes or premises.

This extra, carefully planned step ensures that responding emergency crews can take the required precautions if needed.

Libby Logan, SFRS Area Commander for Operations Control, said: “A core part of the Control job is to provide as much information as possible to our crews to assist them in keeping themselves, colleagues and members of the public safe, while ensuring that we deliver the very best service to the people within our communities.

“It was identified early on during this unprecedented period that we could utilise our key skills and experience to obtain important information about the situation that firefighters may be entering.

“Our staff are highly trained and experienced in call handling and asking effective questions, however, there had to sensitivity in questioning callers who may already be in a vulnerable state, and who needed emergency service assistance.

“We absolutely do not want to risk upsetting or alienating someone calling us for help, and so we agreed careful wording whereby our staff would ascertain whether anyone in a home or premises was displaying COVID symptoms, or was self-isolating.

“This small change adds another layer of complexity and detail to an already demanding and challenging role, but has proved effective and helped to protect our frontline crews.

“We will continue to do this for as long as necessary, and I would like to thank our Operations Control staff for their dedication and professionalism during this testing period.”

Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens, SFRS Director of Service Delivery, said: “It’s imperative that our firefighters are equipped with as much detail as possible about the environment they may be entering during an emergency situation, especially during this unprecedented period.

“This additional support from our Operations Control colleagues has helped ensure firefighters can take the required precautions before entering a home or premises, and has been a key support in developing vital risk assessments.”

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