Hertfordshire fire crews take longer to reach fires because of ‘sanitizing measures’

The delays have been attributed to ‘more comprehensive sanitizing measures’

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 8:54 am

Fire crews are taking longer to reach incidents because of the time it takes the to complete Covid-related ‘sanitizing measures’, it has been reported.

According to ‘attendance standards’ in the case of a property fire 90 per cent of fire crews should reach a property fire within 10 minutes.

And if a second appliance is required it should arrive within 13 minutes, in 90 per cent of incidents.

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Fire engine stock image

But data reported to a meeting of the county council’s cabinet on Monday (April 19) showed that too many crews were not meeting the target.

In February the latest data shows that just 80.8 per cent of crews met the required attendance standards. And that means that almost one in five did not.

According to the report to the cabinet, the delays have been attributed to ‘more comprehensive sanitizing measures’

“Overall attendance standards fell slightly in February, due mainly to a fall in performance for first pump,” says the report.

“This has been attributed to more comprehensive sanitizing measures before donning regular PPE and boarding the appliance.”

Following the meeting a spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “The recent slight drop in our performance against this standard has been attributed to the nationally agreed Covid-19 Infection Prevention Control measures that our firefighters are following to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19, particularly while travelling to incidents in the cab of the fire engine.”

He said that before getting in to the fire engine fire fighters were now required to thoroughly sanitize hands and put on nitrile gloves, as well as putting on a surgical mask.

“This slightly increases the time it takes for the fire engine to leave the station,” said the spokesperson.

It was also reported to the meeting of the county council’s cabinet that monthly crime figures had fallen in January, in line with seasonal trends – and that crime remains well below the level recorded at the same time last year.

According to the data, in January there were 5,259 crimes reported in the county, which is lower than the 5,710 recorded in December.