'I can't thank them enough' - Retired firefighters return to frontline in Tyne and Wear due to coronavirus pandemic
Retired firefighters across Tyne and Wear have answered the call to return to work and help ease pressure on the emergency services during the coronavirus lockdown.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) confirmed that a number of retired firefighters are back on the books to provide assistance during the coronavirus outbreak.
Chris Lowther, Chief Fire Officer of Tyne and Wear, tweeted a picture of some of the staff on Tuesday, March 31.
He said: “The first of my retired colleagues who answered my call start their retraining today. Carl Latimer, Paul Hopkins, Steve Williams, James Ferguson and Martin Abbott – the first of many.
“I can’t thank them enough. Heroes.”
In March, Mr Lowther took part in a radio interview, during which he said “recently retired firefighters could be asked back” as the brigade looked at what measures it could implement during the crisis.
A TWFRS spokeswoman confirmed that some former staff have answered the call and said in a statement: “So far, these are 11 previous firefighters, crew managers and watch managers.
“We are currently running a course which will refresh their skills enabling them to return to operational duty.
There is also a possibility that further staff could be making a return to the front lines, with TWFRS bosses hopeful of more sign-ups.
The spokeswoman added: “We are also processing new responses which were received following our social media posts last week, and other direct engagement which will hopefully allow us to run a further refresher course in the near future.”