FIRE service staff have been advised to get tested for COVID-19 after coming into contact with a firefighter who is suffering from the virus.

The News & Mail was told this week that around 20 firefighters and training officers involved in breathing apparatus training were self-isolating following a positive test for someone on the course.

The source, within Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), said the temporary loss of operational staff put extra pressure on the brigade, which was already suffering from crew shortages at many of the county’s fire stations. It was the equivalent of losing four firefighter shifts.

An SFRS spokesman did not confirm the numbers involved but said: “An operational firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, Test and Trace protocols have been implemented by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.

“This has resulted in a number of staff being referred for testing and advised to self-isolate. Appropriate control measures and operational adjustments are being put in place whilst we await the results of these additional tests.

“The advice is that if you are symptomatic, to get tested at the earliest opportunity and to not attend the workplace if you have symptoms. Across our service, staff have worked hard to design and implement control measures and now it is imperative that these are maintained.”