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Ton Pentre’s Darren helps Army’s Covid-19 operation

Posted on: 08/07/2020

A Ton Pentre man who was called up to help in the Army’s responsive operation to the Covid-19 pandemic has returned to his day job.

At the beginning of April, Darren Griffiths, 42, swapped his usual job as Team Leader for gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, to help on the front-line assisting Welsh Ambulance Service Trust.

Darren, an Army Reservist for the past three years, was mobilised full-time to the Army’s 3 Royal Welsh Decontamination Platoon, which was assisting Wales Ambulance Service Trust with vehicle cleaning during the crisis.

I spent 10 years in the Army, followed by 12 years out and then opted to re-enlist as a Reservist.

Being called up meant that I swapped my work overalls for a full protective suit to deep clean ambulances that carried patients with confirmed cases of the Coronavirus. I also spent time helping to unload PPE at Cardiff Airport for delivery to NHS staff.

We got full training from NHS paramedics in how to clean ambulances and, crucially, how to take the suit off when you’ve finished. This was particularly important as there’s always the possibility of Covid-19 being present on the suit once you’ve performed the deep clean.

Darren Griffiths, Wales & West Utilities

Darren’s work as an Army Reserve was made easier after Wales & West Utilities signed the Armed Forces Covenant last year which has further strengthened the company’s commitment to supporting the military community and their families.

Darren added:

I’m proud to have played a part in helping out during the peak of the crisis. It was important that I could help and ease just some of the pressure being felt by those on the front-line. Wales & West Utilities were really supportive, and I am proud that the culture of the company allowed me to help. I am now back working doing my usual day job as a Gas Engineering Team Leader: looking after the pipes that keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses across Wales and south west England.

 

Our work with the military through the Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened our existing relationships with the Armed Forces community and opened up potential new opportunities for collaboration in future.

Reservists have been a vital resource in helping maintain optimal ambulance services during an incredibly testing period. We thank Darren and all the Army Reservists who took leave from their professions and joined us in our response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Lee Brooks, Director of Operations for the Welsh Ambulance Service

 

We recognise the valuable contribution our armed forces colleagues make to their communities and Darren should feel proud to have alleviate some of the pressure being felt during the peak of the pandemic.

Wales & West Utilities People & Engagement Director, Sarah Hopkins

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we'll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We'll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.