Coronavirus - A message from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) would like to reassure members of the community that we are still here for them and will continue to respond to emergencies throughout the current pandemic.

Measures are being taken to ensure that our frontline firefighters and staff are protected to ensure we can continue to provide a service and also to protect the public of Merseyside.

Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “These are difficult times particularly for those working on the health frontline but it’s important that the public to know that we are doing everything we can to keep you safe. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has robust business continuity plans in place which are tested regularly to make sure they work so there will always be enough firefighters and fire engines to respond to 999 calls. Like all emergency services, we plan and exercise for all scenarios regularly, including flu pandemics, so we know what to do in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“On the basis of those plans, we have taken the decision to reduce some of our prevention activity where the risk of fire is low. We will also be avoiding visiting hospitals and care homes – except in cases of high risk or emergency – as we do not wish to put the particularly vulnerable at risk. Be assured we will continue to work with our partners to keep everyone in Merseyside safe.”

Many members of our community will now be spending more time at home than usual, with some of us forced to self-isolate. MFRS understands how stressful this can be and that’s why we want to make sure people stay as safe as possible. We will be posting advice on our social media feeds about keeping yourself safe from fire – please take notice and always remember, if there is a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Follow these tips to stay safe from fire:

• Smoke alarms – smoke alarms save lives but only if they’re working and in the right place. You should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home. Consider installing additional alarms in rooms with electrical appliances or sleeping areas. Don't put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam could set them off accidentally. NEVER take the batteries out of your smoke alarm to put into another electrical device.

• Heaters – keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains, furniture and other flammable materials. NEVER use heaters to dry clothes. ALWAYS switch off and unplug your heaters before going to bed.

• Smoking – if you smoke, use a proper ashtray and make sure it is placed on a level surface away from combustible materials. Make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished. Don’t smoke in bed – you could easily fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and cause a fire.

• Candles – keep candles and tea lights away from anything that can catch fire. NEVER leave lit candles unattended – make sure they are fully extinguished before leaving the room or going to bed. Consider using LED battery-operated candles instead.

• Cooking – make it a priority to keep cooking areas clear & clean from combustible materials. Make sure your oven and grill are clean – a build-up of fat or grease can cause a fire. DON’T leave pans unattended while cooking and NEVER leave children or pets unattended in the kitchen.

• Escape routes – make sure everyone in your household knows how to get out in the event of a fire. Ensure your escape routes are clear from any clutter. Keep your door and window keys in a known and accessible place.

• IN AN EMERGENCY, CALL 999 IMMEDIATELY. In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

During the current situation, we would ask those who are able, to check on their elderly and vulnerable neighbours and relatives and offer them support. If they are self-isolating due to their age or underlying health conditions, check if you can help by picking up items from the shop and leaving it on their doorstep.

CFO Garrigan added: “As the country deals with the coronavirus outbreak, many of you will be moving into self-isolation, and many of you will be feeling anxious, vulnerable and isolated. Please remember that no matter what happens, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is here, looking out for you and your loved ones.”

Note to editors:

Changes to our activity:
o We are continuing to respond to all incidents
o Reducing fire prevention work in the community where the risk of fire is low
o Avoid visiting hospitals and care homes except in cases of high risk or emergency
o Suspended the use of fire stations by community groups
o Closed our Heritage and Education Centre until further notice – the museum is run by volunteers, many of whom are retired firefighters in the older age group most at risk from COVID-19. We hope to be able to open the centre again soon.