Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have been assisting in Lancashire’s vaccination programme since December 2020 and are continuing to assist now the mass vaccination sites have opened across the county. We have staff from a variety of roles such as support staff, Community Safety staff and firefighters working at the sites. Some staff are welcoming people, undertaking marshalling and care duties and even some of our staff are now delivering the vaccine (after some intense training of course!).
We wanted to share with you some of the stories from staff who are working at the sites so you know a little more about our involvement!
We’d like to introduce you to Stephen Brown from Darwen Fire Station.
“Along with everyone within the service I received the email asking if anyone would be willing to volunteer to assist in the vaccination roll out. As this is the most important issue the country has had to deal with for decades I immediately volunteered.
As an on-call firefighter I was aware that volunteering would be a challenge as appliance availability would always take priority. After initially being able to be involved at Barbara Castle way, in Blackburn, the vaccination roll-out increased to involve Darwen health Link. This allowed both myself and the on-call crew at Darwen to be more actively involved in the vaccination roll-out. This allowed us to be involved whilst still ensuring that the fire engine remained available for responding to emergency incidents. Many of the on-call crew at Darwen offered to give their time and we ended up having a core team working at the health centre alongside NHS colleagues.
Together we formed really positive working relationships with the NHS staff open to suggestions in how the process flow could be improved, resulting in a group of people from different organisations working together towards the one simple goal of protecting the people of Lancashire.
Getting this off the ground before Christmas and before the mass sites opened was brilliant. We were able to talk to each person who came, some very scared, yet grateful, for being out their homes for the first time since March and were able to reassure them. We could see how much getting the vaccine meant to them and some told us how getting the vaccine was literally the best Christmas present they could ask for. Seeing how grateful they were really meant a lot to us all and made me realise how fortunate I was that due to our work lockdown was not as severe for us. As we began the move to the mass vaccination sites we were able to assist in the sharing our knowledge and experience with the new volunteers, who have been recruited from the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership, to hopefully ensure the best possible standards were maintained so the site continues to run smoothly.
Even though the service has now moved to the mass vaccination sites, myself and my on-call colleagues have still been available to assist our NHS friends, responding independently to a cry for help when an unexpected vaccination batch was delivered and they were unable to get people from the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership. Overall, it has been a great experience!”
Don’t forget that you will be contacted by the NHS or your GP in regards to attending your vaccine appointment. They are prioritising the vaccine for those who need it most and based on national guidelines. If you attend the site without an appointment you will be turned away.
Please remember that vaccines, especially the first dose, is not the time to become complacent. People need to continue to practice basic hygiene, social distancing and following local and national lockdown advice.