Coronavirus contingency plans 'in place' for West Yorkshire's emergency services

Contingency plans have been drawn up by West Yorkshire's emergency services as they prepare for a range of potential scenarios arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

By Georgina Morris
Saturday, 14th March 2020, 11:45 am

The county's fire and rescue service has stressed it is responding to all emergencies as normal, while West Yorkshire Police said it was continuing to provide a service to the public.

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Both organisations are drawing on national guidance and monitoring how the situation is developing so that their own plans can be adapted as needed.

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Senior police and fire officers have given assurances about their continued ability to respond to emergencies. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

It follows confirmation yesterday that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus - known officially as Covid-19 - had risen to 14.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to reassure the public that we have contingency plans in place for a variety of situations that could arise as part of the coronavirus pandemic. We recognise it is likely that the current situation will worsen and we will adapt our plans accordingly.

“We are continuously monitoring the situation and are following the advice of our partners including the National Fire Chiefs Council, Public Health England, the NHS and the Local Resilience Forum. This is consistent with the approach being taken by other Fire and Rescue Services across the country."

He said the service was "responding to all emergencies as normal" and issuing advice to its staff to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Similar reassurance was offered by Assistant Chief Constable Tim Kingsman about the steps being taken by the county's police force.

"We are monitoring the situation in relation to Covid-19 and following national guidance from the National Police Chiefs Council," he said.

"We have contingency plans in place and we continue to provide a service to the public of West Yorkshire."

He added that the force was working with all its partner agencies locally and nationally to respond to the developing situation.

From Monday, all of the force's new recruits will be sworn in on their second day of employment.

The force stressed this change was not in response to coronavirus and was planned in line in with Operation Uplift, the national campaign to recruit 20,000 new police officers in the UK over the next three years.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service was invited to comment.