An uptick in coronavirus exposure in Oklahoma City fire stations has Tulsa firefighters more cautious now that the City of Tulsa has mostly reopened.
Oklahoma City announced Tuesday that they are under a “level red emergency,” meaning more than 50 firefighters have been taken off shift at once to quarantine.
The Tulsa Fire Department spokesperson Andy Little said the Tulsa stations have had their share of firefighters who have needed to quarantine and even a handful that tested positive for covid-19. He said despite that, they’ve been fortunate to keep a full staff so far to keep the city safe just as they swore they would.
“We’ve had a regular amount of firefighters on quarantine,” Little said. “There are very few who have tested positive, which is a good thing, it said we are wearing proper PPE and taking precautions to continue to serve the citizens.”
Little said if an uptick in virus cases among Tulsans happens, they are ready to face it.
“One person goes to the door in full PPE, knocks on the door, asks the person to come outside if they are able since there’s germs inside their home and more opportunities for exposure,” Little said.
He said a big part of their good health within stations so far should be credited to the dispatchers since they are the ones doing the initial groundwork to keep the first responders safe.
Little said they’re asking the proper questions to identify possible cases of COVID-19.
If firefighters do begin getting sick, Little said it will take a lot more than just a few people out at one time to break down their staffing system since more than 700 men and women are part of the Tulsa Fire Department with 150 of them working on any given day.
Little said the Tulsa firefighters are dedicated to keeping Tulsans, themselves, and their families safe, no matter how bad the outbreak becomes.
“We are one big family,” Little said. “It’s important to us that our firefighters are safe and if they aren’t safe it’s difficult for us to provide a product that we swore we would.”
Little said there are plans in place that if firefighters do contract coronavirus, there is a facility for them to stay in way from the public and their families while they recover if they choose.