LANCASHIRE Fire and Rescue Service has suspended most home fire safety checks and prevention and protection activity because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Access to all its stations has been restricted to brigade staff.

Chief fire officer Justin Johnston said the moves were necessary to protect its frontline services

The suspension of 'all non-critical activity' means home fire safety check visits will only be made to those most at risk from fire to protect the most vulnerable.

All other fire service prevention and educational programmes have been suspended until further notice.

The brigade has restricted its fire protection services to its minimum legal requirements, such as carrying out enforcement activity.

All Lancashire fire stations are now restricted to just fire service staff. The use of their community rooms by other organisations and groups, visits to fire stations and charity car washes have been suspended until further notice.

Mr Johnson said: “We have been planning and testing scenarios like the coronavirus pandemic for many years. Our business continuity plans have been well tested to ensure that our service can continue to provide our frontline services

"We have a range of options with regards to the crewing of fire engines to ensure that fire engines remain available to attend emergency calls.

“I apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment to people who have had visits or meetings at a fire station cancelled but our focus is on ensuring that anyone who needs us in an emergency will get a quick and effective service.”

Oswaldtwistle county councillor and Lancashire Combined Fire Authority member Cllr Peter Britcliffe said: "I welcome these measures from Mr Johnson.

"They appear to be very sensible actions to make sure our fire and rescue services work as efficiently as possible during the current Coronavirus outbreak."