Addressing your COVID-19 concerns: Resources to help firefighters

FireRescue1 offers several articles that tackle each of your top stressors related to the pandemic

We asked the FireRescue1 community “What is your biggest COVID-19-related concern?” 

The poll results were fairly evenly divided among being infected, lack of PPE and infecting others – less of a response on the other options: being quarantined/isolated, inadequate staffing, and time away from family.

We have several articles that tackle each of these stressors:

Stressor #1: Being Infected

Senior Captain Chris DelBello's article “Company Officer COVID-19 advice: Time, distancing and shielding" shares best practices for patient interactions, communications with the dispatch center, PPE, and decontamination of the rig.

Firefighter Aaron Zamzow, who is also a personal trainer, writes about how first responders can boost their immunity during this pandemic. Aaron offers six tips: Wash your hands, drink plenty of fluids, exercise, eat fruits, vegetables and protein, get rest and sleep, and finally, avoid sugar.

Stressor #2: Lack of PPE

Rachel Engel put together a helpful piece called “11 unlikely sources of PPE donations” to help firefighters access the PPE that is so hard to find right now. Some of those sources include vocational schools, building supply companies and tool suppliers, dental offices and tattoo shops.

Stressor #3: Infecting Others

We’ve got a comprehensive article called “How can I protect my family from COVID-19?” in which Emily Pearce shares a 12-step process to protect your home and family after a shift. We’ve also included a downloadable checklist that you can print out and hang by the door to your garage or wherever it is you enter your home.

Stressor #4: Being quarantined or isolated

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor breaks down the differences between quarantine and isolation.

We’ve certainly seen the two extremes – departments that immediately took entire shifts out of service when there was an exposure, even without confirmation, and departments that had crews continuing to provide service after exposure if they weren’t exhibiting signs/symptoms, which they wouldn’t for 5 or so days. 

On a lighter note for quarantining, IAFC President Gary Ludwig share somes movies and books to help firefighters pass the time if they are indeed quarantined and looking for some quality entertainment that’s also educational.

Stressor #5: Inadequate Staffing

In Fire Chief Jason Caughey's article “COVID-19 Staffing Impacts,” he discusses a few options for recalling members and even looking for community volunteers. He details a multi-step plan to handle the influx of people offering their services as well.

Stressor #6: Time Away from Family

Keith Padgett wrote a really nice piece called “Caring for our own during COVID-19: How to support members and their families." Certainly, time away from family can lead to increased stress as well – and some firefighter parents may need help with childcare options. Keith offers some suggestions about how to help.

All of the articles I’ve discussed here – and many more – can be found here: “Addressing your concerns: COVID-19 resources for firefighters.” The article also includes general stress management resources, and even some uplifting news, too.

Please continue to check for additional information. We are here for you during this national emergency, and we appreciate everything you are doing to keep your communities safe.

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