Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has put major incident plans in place to deal with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief fire officer Chris Strickland said: “Please be assured that we currently have enough staff across the county to crew our fire engines.
“However, we are fully aware that the pandemic will take its toll on us in the coming days and weeks, so we must work hard to plan and prepare for the potential impacts to ensure we can provide the best possible service to the people of Cambridgeshire.
“Much like any other protracted incident, we need to make plans to ensure we can not only cope with dealing with the current situation, but make sure we can respond to any other emergency that might arise.
“Declaring this a major incident simply allows us to put in place clear structures and mechanisms, for our staff and for working with our partner agencies in the local resilience forum.”
Mr Strickland pointed out that declaring a major incident status has not been initiated because of a significant rise in cases of COVID-19 in the area.
“We are predicting what might happen and we want to ensure we have everything in place to respond as effectively as they can, even in the face of reduced staffing levels,” he explained.
He also said the service wanted to issue advice about fire and business premises safety during the lock-down period.
“Many residents across the county will be facing significant periods of time at home, either working or looking after children, or both. While at home residents are urged to maintain good fire safety standards and ensure crews are not called out unnecessarily.
“There are many steps people can take to ensure they are keeping their homes safe from fire.
“Testing their smoke alarms regularly and encouraging their friends to do so is a great help, as well as making sure they are clean.
“Also if you are planning on making use of the time at home to sort out the garden, think about other ways to dispose of garden waste other than a bonfire.
“Businesses can also do their bit to help ensure our crews are not called out unnecessarily.
“For example making sure the buildings are secured and any rubbish or combustible material is stored securely, preferably away from the building.”
“We are facing an unprecedented public health situation in this country and it’s more important than ever that we all work together to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.”