Reports Abound of Firefighters Exposed to Virus

Photo courtesy CDC

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds across the U.S. and world, there are reports from around the country of firefighters and paramedics who have been thus far exposed to the virus and are quarantined.

A firefighter in Washington, D.C., has reportedly tested positive and an unknown number of other D.C. Fire & EMS members have been asked to self-quarantine. According to a report from NBC Washington via FirefighterNation, up to 73 members may be involved in the self-quarantine situation.

John Knox, 84,  a retired fire marshal with the Fire Department of New York, died of complications related to the coronavirus, according to and the New York Post. At least three active FDNY members had tested positive as of Monday, and at least 30 members were being quarantined as a precaution.

CBS 2 Chicago reported Tuesday that a Chicago Fire Department paramedic has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is being quarantined along with his partner. Additionally, it was reported on Sunday afternoon that a firefighter in Columbus, Ohio, also tested positive.

According to ABC News 10 San Diego, Escondido (CA) Fire Department says it learned Sunday of a firefighter paramedic who had tested positive for COVID-19. Eight firefighters in San Jose had tested positive, according to a report last Friday. Five firefighters with Puget Sound, Washington, have been quarantined as a precaution, and three firefighters responding to the first confirmed case in Alaska were quarantined. In British Columbia, Canada, eight firefighters were put in isolation because of potential exposure to COVID-19.

The Associated Press reported that five firefighters and a police officer were in contact with residents at the Atria Willow Wood assisted living community in Broward County, at which there was a death reportedly linked to the virus. Also in Florida, six Palm Beach Gardens firefighters were being quarantined as a precaution following possible exposure to the coronavirus.

While people in many other professions have the option of hunkering down or sheltering-in-place during times of crisis, firefighters and paramedics remain active on the front lines, and the coronavirus pandemic is no different from any other. The Los Angeles Times reported on how the virus will be impacting staffing of firefighters and police who respond to calls related to the coronavirus. There will undoubtedly be more cases of first responders who are exposed to this virus as the world continues to deal with this emergency.


Response Guideline to Respiratory Distress/Potential Coronavirus (COVID-19) Patients

CDC: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Site

JEMS: What You Need to Know about COVID-19

COVID-19 and Firefighter Response

EMS: Training Technique for Glove Removal

Book: Infection Control Policies for Community Paramedicine & MIH

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