London Fire Brigade delivering PPE to boroughs
PUBLISHED: 09:41 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:41 22 April 2020
More than two million pieces of PPE have been delivered across London by the fire service to meet the exceptional demand.
Members of the London Fire Brigade (LFB) have been providing the items across the capital to frontline workers.
A south London former brigade centre has been turned into the Operation Seacole distribution hub, named after pioneering Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole.
Winston Douglas, distribution hub manager, said 75,000 aprons were sent to Redbridge on Tuesday.
Since early April, brigade members have distributed items including masks, gloves and gowns to the health service and care homes.
All 33 London local authorities are also receiving deliveries, as well as mortuaries, the police and Transport for London.
The LFB receives orders from services who need PPE for staff and these are then agreed, prioritised and processed the following day and sent out using a range of service vehicles.
Winston Douglas, distribution hub manager, said they were receiving between 12 to 18 orders per day, with each including requests for tens of thousands of items.
He told the PA news agency: “On the first day we rolled out just under a quarter of a million items and on the second day we rolled out nearer three-quarters of a million items, so we’ve been firing on all cylinders since we’ve been set up.
“We have a range of everything that most healthcare providers would require with PPE.”
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patrick Goulbourne said the service may have delivered close to three million items in the past few weeks.
He told PA: “We’ve had some orders in the tens of thousands for PPE because things like gloves they run out very quickly so they need a fair amount of quantity to ensure their operations.
“What’s clear from some of the people we’ve spoken to is that their workload has increased so much they just need increased PPE to allow them to keep up with the pace of work they’re having to do to support people in the community.”
Both firefighters and non-uniformed staff have volunteered to help with the distribution.
Mr Goulbourne said while the logistics were a challenge, the brigade will continue its work for as long as it is needed.
He added: “These are emergency stocks of PPE so where they might have orders that might be delayed, we can ensure that we can get PPE out to them quickly so they can continue the work they’re doing whilst they’re waiting for normal orders to arrive.
“It’s a real sense that everyone is coming together to just do their best.”
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