Jimmy Patronis: Florida’s First Responders Need to be Prepared for Coronavirus

Following a call on Tuesday with the Florida Fire Chiefs Association, Urban Search and Rescue Teams, and other Florida fire service leaders, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis issued the following statement:

As of yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hasn’t confirmed any cases of Coronavirus in Florida – and we hope it stays that way. But with a large number of people traveling through Florida airports and seaports to visit the Sunshine State, our first responders need to be prepared.

That’s why I held a call today with firefighters and first responders in preparation for the Coronavirus’s potential entrance into the state.

As the International Association of Firefighters has begun issuing guidance on how first responders can protect themselves from the deadly disease, we wanted to make sure this important information gets to the right people. The Association has provided important information on coordinating with municipalities; preparation – by reviewing department’s exposure control plans; guidance on how to deal with potential exposure; and protection and decontamination strategies.

Our office will be distributing this information to first responders across the state.

I also asked our first responders to look at equipment on hand; the availability of face shields and goggles aid in protecting our brave heroes. Because of this virus, however, suppliers of medical equipment have noticed an increase in demand, so it’s especially important for first responders to review their equipment needs immediately.

Finally, I encouraged first responders to make sure they’re coordinating with their county health departments. As health care officials interface with the World Health Organization (WHO), they’ll have the latest information on the spread of the Coronavirus and can provide additional details on any strategies that are being deployed on managing its spread.

Our heroes do a lot more than fight fires, and we need to make sure they’re taking proper precautions in case we start seeing this disease make its way to Florida.

 

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