Adapt and overcome are words synonymous with fire departments. The current COVID-19 situation is no different.
The main job of the fire chief and senior staff is putting systems in place to keep department members safe and prepared for emergencies and future needs. We are fortunate in Hampton to have leaders doing that. These leadership initiatives have become even more important during the pandemic. As COVID-19 began to impact areas, we already had several plans in place to help mitigate the risks to our members.
One of the most significant was the procurement of commercial electrostatic sprayers and medical grade disinfectant. The sprayer and disinfectant are used on the interior surfaces of all fire apparatus and medic units. This process does not supersede or replace normal decontamination and cleaning. However, if a patient with COVID-19 symptoms is transported, the additional decontamination measures are taken. At a minimum, all units are decontaminated weekly using the sprayer and disinfectant. This adaptation offers an additional level of protection to our members along with proper PPE usage.
We continue to be dedicated in planning for the future. Hampton Roads Fire Academy 26 (HRFA) began prior to the start of the pandemic. The instructors implemented solutions to the orders on social distancing and gatherings of more than 10. The academy is practicing social distancing during physical training, as well as during class with three separate classrooms, live video conferencing for lectures and visual resources. As firefighters, we stand united in serving the needs of our communities and sharing our innovations to help each other adapt and overcome. Stay safe. Follow us on Facebook at “Hampton Fire” and Twitter at “Hampton VA Fire.”
– Submitted by Battalion Chief Anthony Chittum