Report on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's planning and preparedness for COVID-19 (Light Touch Review)
On the 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the outbreak of a new coronavirus, COVID-19 constituted a public health emergency of international concern. There are many coronaviruses that are transmitted from human-to-human which are not of public health concern, however COVID-19, which is a new strain of the virus, that has not been previously identified in humans, can cause respiratory illness of varying severity. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Currently, there is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19.
The SFRS, like most other organisations, already has planning arrangements in place for an Influenza Pandemic. The Service has been quick to update plans and supplement documentation with COVID-19 specific guidance for all staff. The suite of documents available and reviewed are:
- General Information Note – Operations Control Resilience Strategy
- COVID-19 Non-Attendance Administration and Management Procedure
- COVID-19 Operational Task Cards
- Influenza Pandemic Business Continuity Plan
- SOP – Delayed Attendance of the Scottish Ambulance Service Protocols
- Business Continuity Plan Response and Resilience Directorate
- COVID-19 Command, Control and Coordination (C3) Framework and Reporting Protocol
- General Information Note – Appliance Withdrawal Strategy
- COVID-19 National Event Operational Plan
The aim of the SFRS during this difficult time is to maintain high standards of Service Delivery within the challenging environment presented by COVID-19.
With objectives to:
- Continue to operate efficiently and effectively during this period of uncertainty and disruption
- Ensure that all areas of the Service are prepared and equipped to maintain Service Delivery safely, in the challenging conditions that may be presented
- Ensure that the Health and Wellbeing of all SFRS staff is a key priority (this will be achieved through key messaging and sign-posting to the most current information available from Government and public health sources)
- The SFRS has stated that it will collaborate with all partners in sharing information, intelligence and preventative measures which may be taken.