Archive for category Coronavirus

Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from wcia.com:

Fire departments in central Illinois have created contingency plans in case firefighters are infected with coronavirus.

This week twelve Springfield firefighters contracted COVID-19, including Chief Allen Reyne. The outbreak within the department caused a total of 37 firefighters to isolate or quarantine. The outbreak was traced back to a house party. Reyne said, “Once you get two or three positives, now you have to look back through contact tracing, who worked with who, what calls they ran together. We’ve done that over the last few days. At one point, we were at 48. Pretty quickly, we got that number down to 37.” Despite the big setback the department is still running on a full staff. But with fewer firefighters available, they are racking up the overtime.

The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal shares daily stats on how COVID-19 has affected departments in Illinois. Champaign Fire Deputy Chief Tyler Funk said, “Since March 17th, there have been 2,039 firefighters that have been directly affected by this COVID-19 virus, and it effects 182 fire departments across the state. Those numbers include firefighters that have either been placed into quarantine or have tested positive.”

The pandemic has forced departments to prepare if exposure happens in their areas. In June, a Champaign firefighter had to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. Twelve other firefighters self-quarantined as well. The department has made adjustments to adapt to the health and safety risks since the pandemic started. Funk said, “We’re doing symptom based checks in the morning before they enter the workplace. We’re obviously wearing masks and staying socially distant within the department.”

Smaller villages, like Tolono, have a volunteer department. They have also made changes to operations. Assistant Chief Chris Humer said, “Not as many responders will go inside of a house, for your average medical call, it may just be one or two.” With nineteen firefighters on their force, they can not afford a significant loss in staff. “We have contingency plans set up with mutual aid departments, such as Savoy. We’re in constant contact with their administrative team as well, consistently talking about staffing levels,” said Humer.

Both large and small fire departments have similar plans for coronavirus outbreaks. If they can’t make up for a loss in staff with their own firefighters, they have agreements with nearby departments for mutual aid.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from abc7chicago.com:

Elgin firefighters went above and beyond to lift the spirits of a patient at a suburban rehabilitation hospital.

The only way for patients to visit with family members at that the Avondale Estates facility is to do so through a window, which makes Mary Moore’s third-floor room a big hurdle. She has been suffering from serious respiratory illness and transferred there  this week. She’s the matriarch of a large, tightly-knit family. Concerned relatives flew in from around the country to see her, except they weren’t really going to be able to see much looking up from the parking lot. When Elgin’s fire chief heard about it, he offered the solution; a ladder truck to bring them to the window.

The family kept the visit a secret, waiting to just appear in front of her window Thursday afternoon – and the reaction was worth it.

While her family was only here to visit Mary Moore, administrators said everybody in the facility got a boost at a time when many may need it the most.

“It’s not something we can do every day, take another ladder truck out of service,” Elgin Fire Chief Robb Cagann said. “But the circumstances around this particular situation gave us the opportunity to do it and we thought it warranted our ability to do that.”

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19 (more)

Excerpts from abc7chicago.com:

A somber ceremony honored Mario Araujo, the first Chicago firefighter EMT to die from the coronavirus. His colleagues saluted, his family was honored as they and mourn a loss due to COVID-19 that thousands of others have endured in our state.

Inside the fire academy, Araujo’s mother and family watched his badge, number 5186, be enshrined in the building itself, his sacrifice honored. And it’s not just at the training academy. Araujo is now also honored along the lakefront at the firefighter EMT memorial for all to see. His name is now etched in brick alongside his fallen brother and sister firefighters, now forever part of the city he loved.

From CFD media on Twitter:

Firefighter/EMT Mario Araujo was honored today at the Quinn Fire Academy. FF Araujo was the first member of CFD to succumb to the deadly coronavirus in April. Mario’s service and dedication will always be remembered.

brick to honor the memory of fallen Chicago Firefighter/EMT Mario Araujo

CFD Media photo

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from NBCchicago.com:

At least 94 employees of the Chicago Fire Department have tested positive for the coronavirus, of those, 18 members have already returned to duty. Nineteen are being quarantined after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

On Monday, CFD buried Mario Araujo, the first member of the department to die from the coronavirus.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from nbcchicago.com:

Several dozen members of the Chicago Fire Department have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the department to 46. Of those, nine employees have returned to duty as of Tuesday. Another 18 are currently quarantined after a confirmed exposure to the coronavirus.

When the department announced its first coronavirus case three weeks ago, the CFD was taking measures to protect its members from the disease, including dedicating specific ambulances for patients with suspected COVID-19. The department still has four ambulance dedicated for that purpose.

For now, all paramedics responding to respiratory calls or suspected COVID-19 patients are dressing in personal protective equipment including an N-95 mask, face shield and gloves. Paramedics who use a CPAP breathing machine on a patient, regardless of the call involving COVID-19, are sleeping in separate quarters to minimize possible exposure. Firehouses and ambulances are also undergoing thorough cleanings after contact with a coronavirus patient.

The Chicago police announced Tuesday that 112 of its members have tested positive for COVID-19. Last week a veteran undercover CPD officer died from the coronavirus.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from thehill.com:

At least 5,000 firefighters across the U.S. are under quarantine because of the coronavirus according to the International Association of Fire Fighters. Only 500 of the 3,400 fire departments in the union are reporting coronavirus numbers to the union. Among those 500 departments, 5,000 firefighters are in quarantine, 3,000 are in isolation, and 700 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Public health officials in states hardest hit by the coronavirus have been warning for weeks of shortages of personal protective equipment for first responders police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and health care personnel on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. now has more than 347,000 confirmed cases and over 10,000 coronavirus deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) – (more)

Worldwide COVID-19 infections top 1,000,000,000 – United States passes 236,000

worldwide confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 1 million

click to download

HERE is the interactive map

 

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from the sbsun.com:

To ensure uninterrupted service during the coronavirus pandemic, 18 fire departments in San Bernardino County, CA have joined under a regional management team, an action usually reserved for fighting large wildfires. The team was formed on March 6 to manage exposed and/or sick members of its agency, to ensure personnel have necessary personal protective equipment, and to maintain consistent communication. 

Those agencies are now united to ensure consistent service regardless of jurisdiction. As the virus establishes itself within our county, citizens may see fire apparatus from other departments responding in their communities and even firefighters from different agencies on the same engine company.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from IAFC.org:

The Senate approved more than $163 billion designated to assist local fire and EMS departments as part of an economic stimulus package to safeguard the U.S. economy and help the nation respond effectively to the 2019 novel coronavirus and its resulting illness, COVID-19. The House is expected to pass the $2 trillion stimulus bill on Friday.
 
This bill includes multiple funding streams to reimburse fire and EMS departments for the costs of their operations:

  • $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse eligible healthcare providers for healthcare expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to the coronavirus. Funding could go to public entities; providers enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, and other for-profit and nonprofit entities that provide diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with COVID-19. 
  • $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to reimburse activities such as medical response, procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), National Guard deployment, coordination of logistics, implementation of safety measures, and provision of community services. According to FEMA, these funds will cover overtime and backfill costs; the costs of supplies such as disinfectants, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment; and apparatus usage. (The federal government will cover 75% of these costs.) The IAFC recommends that fire chiefs consult the guidance from Chief Keith Bryant, the U.S. Fire Administrator, and FEMA’s new fact sheet on FEMA’s Simplified Public Assistance Application. In addition, they should consult with their state emergency managers to begin the process of being reimbursed.
  • $100 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program for PPE, supplies, and reimbursements. This funding is specific to COVID-19 PPE, supplies, etc. The IAFC has contacted FEMA to ask when this special application period will take place.
  • $100 million for Emergency Management Performance grants for emergency preparedness. This grant program is run by FEMA. The IAFC will provide more information in the future about applying for these grants.
  • $7 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Management account to provide PPE and baseline testing for wildland firefighters. This funding will be spent at the discretion of the chief of the Forest Service, and it is expected to be used for USDA’s wildland firefighting operations.

The bill also attempts to address the shortage of needed emergency supplies:

  • $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile supplies of PPE and drugs.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to improve the national supply chain and improve the production of PPE, ventilators, and other needed equipment, and funding for federal, state, and local agencies to purchase this equipment.
  • $1.5 billion for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s State and Local Preparedness Grant.
  • Addresses drug shortages by allowing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prioritize and expedite the review of drug applications and inspections to prevent or mitigate drug shortages. The legislation also requires drug manufacturers to share information on their drug volume and report when there is a supply interruption due to shortages of the active pharmaceutical ingredient.

Additionally, the bill addresses life-safety priorities:

  • Allows fire sprinkler retrofit installations in commercial buildings to qualify for bonus depreciation through 2027 as well as a 15-year depreciation period in perpetuity after 2027.

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Fire service news – Coronavirus COVID-19

Excerpts from wtnh.com:

The New Haven Fire Department has purchased an AeroClave device, a fogging system that disinfects on contact. It takes about three minutes for the machine to disinfect an ambulance.

“We are using it for firefighters or medics that go into a building of potential exposure. When they come out, we can actually decontaminate the firefighters gear and spray the firefighter right down on scene,” said Mark Vendetto, Assistant Chief Operations.

He said, “we had two incidences where firefighters reported that they might be potentially exposed. We had those firefighters tested and while they were being tested, we went to the stations where they were assigned and fogged every square inch of that station. It will fill every nook and cranny in the room entirely. It fills the room with the chemical from the ceiling to the floor, covering every crack and crevice in the room.”

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