The Covid-19 pandemic has seen residents, groups, organisations and businesses from across the public and private sectors having to adapt to a whole new way of life.

This has included 169 staff and crew members from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) who have volunteered to temporarily move from their normal day job and alongside our partners, focus on activity related to the fight against coronavirus to support the community. All of this has been achieved whilst maintaining the emergency response to incidents.

This included*:

10,707 vaccinations delivered by TWFRS staff

4,772 hours spent supporting Tyne and Wear vaccination sites

3948   deliveries of essential items for vulnerable people

724     food parcels packed for vulnerable people in the region

456     vaccines delivered to care homes

* The above statistics are accurate up until 3 May 2021

TWFRS have enabled their workforce to be able to respond to calls for assistance not only from the public but equally the wider community partners across agencies, local authorities, voluntary organisations, NHS England, and the broader health sector.

TWFRS staff have taken on a variety of different community roles including administering Lateral Flow Tests, marshals, vaccinators, and resource managers.

The site locations have included the Nightingale Hospital in Sunderland, Newcastle Racecourse, the Vertu Motors Arena the home of Newcastle Eagles, St Thomas More Catholic High School, Whitley Bay High School, and numerous other facilities across the region.

Chris Lowther, Chief Fire Officer at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“One of the defining memories that encompasses the community response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been the way people and organisations including the Emergency Services have rolled up their sleeves and have gone over and above the call of duty to help others.

“I am proud of the way our crews and staff from across Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have come together and generated a wonderful community spirit.  We have seen people gaining new skills that can be used to help fight the battle against this terrible disease. Actions taken range from administering vaccination jabs through to delivering crucial food parcels to the vulnerable in our community.

“This shows the high level of empathy and caring being shown by all of our Emergency Service colleagues in the North East, and up and down the country. These actions have been delivered alongside our day-to-day roles.  We will continue to provide essential skills and services and stand strong with our community in the battle against Covid-19.”

People can also continue to collect their Lateral Flow Home Testing kits from Service Headquarters in Washington (between 9am-12noon) and Gateshead Community Fire Station (between 1pm-3pm) on Monday and Thursdays.