DALLAS — Updated at 7:14 p.m. with more firefighters who have tested positive.
Ten Dallas firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19, officials say. An additional 10 firefighters are symptomatic and waiting for results as of Wednesday afternoon.
Because they work in close quarters, 126 firefighters with Dallas Fire-Rescue are now in quarantine. These numbers change daily.
Firefighters are often the first to be at the scene of the most urgent cases of the novel coronavirus.
“It’s starting to hit home with firefighters and first responders in general,” said Jim McDade, President of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association.
He referenced the news about the Chicago firefighter of 17 years dying from complications of COVID-19 on Tuesday night.
“As infectious as [COVID-19] is, it is inevitable that we are going to have more members that are infected,” McDade said.
McDade said the department is making it work and they still have the same number of firefighters working each shift. A lot of them are getting overtime and filling in for each other.
“I think from the beginning of this, this is something that the department was not fully prepared for,” he said.
McDade is concerned about the lack of personal protective equipment. Firefighters are reusing N95 masks multiple times.
As they continue to respond to all their usual calls like fires, car wrecks, heart attacks, and more, they are also dealing with a highly infectious disease.
He urges residents to shelter in place, social distance, and follow the guidelines ordered by the judge to help stop the spread of COVID-19.