FIREFIGHTERS from across the area are supporting the ambulance service during the coronavirus crisis.

Where required, crews will be on hand to drive ambulances and help with a range of other tasks.

Roles may include delivering food and medicine to the vulnerable.

But West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service bosses stress that firefighters will continue to carry out their normal duties and maintaining a good level of cover will “remain the highest priority”.

The brigade adds that anyone involved in coronavirus-related tasks will be trained and given the appropriate personal protective equipment.

Chief Fire Officer John Roberts said: “It’s part of a firefighter’s DNA to provide help during difficult times, so we are pleased to support this way of working together with our fellow emergency services.

“We are already working at the heart of our local communities – and trained in things like driving emergency vehicles and responding to critical situations – so we are well placed to deliver these additional tasks to help protect the most vulnerable.

“I’d like to assure the public that fire cover remains a priority for us as a service and we will continue responding to all core emergencies, such as fires and road traffic collisions.

“The additional services we undertake will be on top of our usual role keeping West Yorkshire safe.

“We will also continue to implement extra measures in place internally to protect the welfare of our staff as they respond to the new tasks and challenges at hand.

“Teamwork at a difficult time like this is essential, so we will work hard to support our partner agencies and fantastic communities through this pandemic.”

Darren O’Donovan, chairman of West Yorkshire Fire Authority, said he was “extremely proud” of staff for agreeing to step into the new roles.

“These are unprecedented times so I am enormously pleased that we can contribute in this way,” he added.

“We have highly dedicated and skilled staff that I know instil a sense of calm in communities with their presence.

“I’d like to thank all our teams for their continuing efforts, and to reassure the public we will continue working throughout the pandemic to keep West Yorkshire safe in any way we can.”