Deputy Chief of Personnel, Yonkers Fire Department
SW: What are some of the ways COVID impacted YFD?
JC: One decision as a department we made early on was to shop at local
supermarkets so that we could support them and at the same time keep our
firefighters at the firehouse more than in the past for their health and safety and the
safety of their families. Our firefighter unions actuallygave their members an
allowance to buy food from local grocers. We also received FEMA reimbursement for
the purchase of disinfectant and cleaning supplies.
SW: What was your call for response volume like during this period and did the type of call change?
JC: Our volume of medical calls is up significantly due to calls for COVID related issues while at the same time vehicular traffic is way down so there are less calls to respond to an auto accident. Our partners at Empress who also respond to 911 calls were so swamped with calls that they had to bring in additional vehicles from other areas to cope with calls for CPR assist due to breathing issues and we saw the peak around Easter. Since then it is slowly trailing off.
SW: How many members of the YFD came down with COVID related illness?
JC: Out of our 450 + members we have 19 members who went down with COVID across our 12 different fire houses where we are practicing as best we can social distancing. We started donning hazmat suits when responding to calls for service and we have 2 dedicated decontamination units that firefighters utilize to minimize the spread of the virus.
SW: What other impacts has the Covid pandemic had on your normal procedures?
JC: At headquarters we are operating with a skeleton staff and we are putting on hold any of our social gatherings which are a big part of the YFD culture where we are like a big family
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