‘Retired’ fire station gets second chance to serve the community as testing centre

With the recent move of firefighters to a new state of the art Fire Station on Violet Way, St Helens, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority has agreed a way for the former station on Parr Stocks Road to continue to serve the community. After it was identified as an ideal location in the period leading up towards its closure, the sale of the site has been delayed so it can now become a COVID19 testing centre until the sale is completed in February 2021.

The development of Parr Stocks Road former fire station as a Local Testing Station (LTS) will mean that residents will not have to rely on a mobile testing unit, which are only open from 10.30am to 3.30pm, and will be able to take advantage of the longer opening hours at the former fire station between 8.00am and 8.00pm. This means that people will be able to get tested at a time more convenient to them and potentially quicker than before. As we move into winter and flu season, timely testing is ever more important.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service staff worked closely with staff at NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to ensure that the station was able to come into use as a testing station as quickly as possible and were commended by senior officers from both organisations.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Mottram said:

“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is extremely pleased that the old Parr Stocks Road Station can continue to serve the community in this new way. The former station is ideally located and can stay open for a much longer period enabling more tests to take place at convenient times for residents.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Service has made huge efforts to assist partner organisations in efforts to reduce the impact on communities across Merseyside, from delivering prescriptions to people shielding to supporting mass testing efforts, while continuing to keep our own operational response working at full capacity. The speed at which this has been implemented is the latest example of how thinking creatively and working effectively with partners can benefit our community and give us more opportunities to beat this pandemic.”

Julie Ashurst, Director of Primary Care, Transformation and Commissioning for NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

“The Fire Service and Health service have worked together really closely over the last few weeks to mobilise a local testing site at the ex-Fire station. This will make a huge difference for our residents as being able to test people is pivotal to our response to Covid. This offers all our residents continued access to testing at a site that is perfect for this use. We really appreciate the support of the fire service to mobilise this as quickly as we have”

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over.