COVID-19 Continues to Take Toll on Firefighter Ranks

Speeding ambulance

As the coronavirus pandemic enters its third week in North America, firefighters and EMS agencies are continuing to see the virus take its toll on personnel.

Firefighters in the city of Hamilton, Ohio, will be quarantined after the first recorded death in Butler County.

According to several reports, Cedar Grove Ambulance and Rescue Squad in New Jersey will be “standing down” during the pandemic and not responding to emergency calls.

The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) has numerous reported virus cases in its ranks. Earlier this week came reports than an FDNY mechanic had died from coronavirus complications, and two retired firefighters also passed away from COVID-19. The New York Post spoke with FDNY Megan Pfeiffer about the pandemic, who said in many cases medics are “pretty much bringing patients to the hospital to die.” The Post also reported that nearly a quarter of city paramedics are out on medical leave.

In nearby New Jersey, a young firefighter in Passaic passed away from coronavirus complications.

On Tuesday evening, the D.C. fire department confirmed five more firefighters have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of the infected to 19.

According to PIO Rita Reith, the Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department has now identified 12 confirmed COVID-19 positive firefighters. Those firefighters are at in-home quarantine and will not return to work until they have been medically cleared by a doctor. The firefighters on their apparatus or in their station that may have had close contact with firefighters who tested positive are placed in home quarantine and are guided through the the Eli Lilly & Co. testing program.

The Honolulu (HI) Fire Department has temporarily closed a station after a second firefighter reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

These reports are just a smattering of those coming in over the course of the last few days, and there will inevitably be more cases announced as the pandemic continues to unfold.


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