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Face Masks on the Fire Ground


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The chief medical officer has basically said there is no risk of transmission outside in the open air.

Why on earth are senior officers forcing hard working Fire Fighters to wear face masks on the fire ground in the open air? Why is there more focus on disciplining fire fighters for not wearing a face mask on the fire ground than their heroic actions and excellent work fire fighting?

Do brigade management know more about Covid risk than the chief medical officer?

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A lot of sweeping statements in there that appear to be quite emotive. Maybe tell us a little bit more about the experience you had that lead to this post.

I have come across lots of ff’s who prefer to wear a mask when at work, whether on the fireground or not.

As for senior officers being more focussed on disciplining ff’s, I can’t say whether it had happened or not, but i’ve not seen it.

Basically no risk; sounds to me like there is doubt and there is still risk?

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4 pump fire Sunday morning at a restaurant. Ba crews committed, staff out, search of the flat above in progress. 2 HRJ 1 Jet in use.

IOC briefs SM upon his arrival, absolutely no interest from SM in the firefighting, the occupants and the fact that the FF and officers were working hard. SM first statement YOU NEED TO GET ALL THESE FF TO PUT MASKS ON

The GM has also sent out emails stating people will be disciplined if not wearing a mask.

no-one can give a valid reason why a face mask needs to be worn outside in the open. This makes no sense at all

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Okay thanks for the context, helps us to understand a bit more. I won’t defend it as its not my place but can see why that’d be upsetting.

What I would say is, just like firefighters, there are good officers and not so good officers.

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just sounds like the SM was licking fault and there was none to be found with the fire fighting, however, if you had a mask on when you were on the truck why would you take it off if your service requires them to be worn, obvious BA exemption aside. 

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As Aspire and BurtMacklin state.

Some officers are good, some not so. If that’s how the SM went about it, can see the frustration.  However, you’ve had to get to the incident in the pump, where all should have masks on. Unless you’re going in for a wear, absolutely no reason to take the mask off. I get the whole no evidence makes impact in open air, etc, but it’s not hard to keep the mask on and bar a sweaty face, has no impact on our abilities to perform on the incident ground. 

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I have to ask, why wouldn't you take a mask off when you get off of the appliance? You are outside in fresh air. Why is there a so called need to have the mask on outside.

The risk guidelines state you are at risk if you are close to someone face to face for more than 15 minutes. Where is the risk on the fire ground in open air?

I appears that the LFB's masks on the fire ground is complete overkill 

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The same FBU that has just criticised the police for implementing the law and following home office arrest procedures that are to prevent injury?

Yes the FBU have criticised the employers over their lack of care for staff.

But this still does not detract from the ridiculous situation of forcing people to wear a face mask outside in open air. No-one seams to be able to justify the need or benefit with any evidence. We are told to follow the science! Does that not mean take notice of what the chief medical officer is saying or are we to follow blindly just like the Covid will get you if you are drinking a pint but you're safe if you're eating a pie?

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Yes, the same FBU, but thats an entirely separate matter, it does not mean the Brigade will not respond to, and negotiate their concerns.

Yes, you are clearly upset, and based on what you have said, that is understandable. However, my raising of the FBU was in relation to you saying its ‘complete overkill’, when the union that represents us has said on a number occasions, that our employer is not doing enough.

As much as you don’t see the need for a mask outside, many of your colleagues will, what would you say to them, especially the ones with vulnerable family members at home? My guess is that ‘basically no risk’ wouldn’t cut it...

We have been chartering new territory for the past year and its not been easy, even the science has raised eyebrows at times. The Brigade is trying to strike the balance against all that as a backdrop and has not always got it right, but there are varying pressures in the pursuit of keeping people safe and providing our statutory function.

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disapline procedures for not wearing a face mask outside really..

At the end of the day, you know there is a pandemic happening, your an adult in a professional, skilled job. I’m 100% sure nobody wants to catch it regardless of the stats indicating it will be mild or asymptotic for many. It should be a polite reminder to wear PPE, if you can justify it then push back and politely give your point. Extremely low chance of transmission outside, close contact limited and it may affect you doing your job, for example working hard, the mask might effect your breathing, making you hotter etc. so if nobody is near you, you should be able to use your common sense without fear of punishment,Unfortunately it seems like the officer you dealt with was following a tick sheet. 


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On 16/03/2021 at 14:43, Aspire said:

As much as you don’t see the need for a mask outside, many of your colleagues will, what would you say to them, especially the ones with vulnerable family members at home? My guess is that ‘basically no risk’ wouldn’t cut it...

I'll be honest none of those I have spoken to at various stations see or understand the need outside. I've not had one who thinks a mask outside is a good idea!

On 16/03/2021 at 14:54, Vema11 said:

discipline procedures for not wearing a face mask outside really.

Yes really. I've seen the email from the GM

I will NOT name names or stations on here. There have been questions asked via the SM and GM with no evidence backed answers to justify. I just can't believe the madness!

Take care ladies and gents!

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On 16/03/2021 at 09:26, Desserts said:
The chief medical officer has basically said there is no risk of transmission outside in the open air.

I hear your pain Desserts, but this sort of spin doesn't ring true with me, especially the strategically placed 'basically' which suggests you maybe intentionally paraphrasing this statement to prove your point. I have never heard a scientist or medial expert ever say 'no risk' about anything, let alone about anything covid related.

I do not know if this Officer is a pillock or not. But frankly (and please don't take this the wrong way), in the scale of things right now, it doesn't seem to be the biggest injustice in the world or one that is worthy of throwing your toys out of the pram. 

I recently had to go to hospital and saw medical staff who have to wear PPE all day, maybe a 12 hour shift less breaks. From the receptionists to the front end doctors and nursing staff, they were all covered in various uncomfortable layers. I got to this hospital using 4 buses and two trains for the return trip. Transport workers on the buses and tubes also have to wear masks as do retail workers and 101 jobs.

I am long retired (but still working) and take my hats off to all of you working operationally through this pandemic. The health risks you and your family face (by you coming home after a busy shift) are significant, as is the potential for anxiety. In my small world, I would rather wear a mask outdoors on the foreground when the 2m or 1m rule cannot be guaranteed , just to provide added protection for my family (& me). 

My first guvnor once told me 'Pick your fights' - in other words, only really fight, protest and argue matters that are: 1) Truly important to you or loved ones, and 2): Winnable.  

In my book, grumbling about an over zealous and over cautious officer doesn't fit that criteria, so let it go and enjoy life 👍

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