NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the number of coronavirus cases grow in the five boroughs, first responders continue to answer every call.
“It’s challenging times, but our members, as always, are up to the challenge,” Nigro said.
Nigro said for 155 years New York City’s Bravest have responded to calls every day and coronavirus has not changed that. However, their initial dialogue with callers has.
“Do you have a fever? Do you have a cough? So that if they do our members know in advance that this potentially a COVID-19 case,” Nigro said.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211
To help flatten the curve, firefighters are not alternating schedules or mixing companies.
“The same crew comes in every four days in the same fire house, so that people don’t work in other fire houses. They work only in their own,” Nigro said.
But in some cases when it comes to life-saving situations, social distancing is not an option.
“We can’t change the configuration on our ambulances, so we have our EMTs, paramedics and in the front seat. The distance is what it is,” Nigro said.
As of Monday, 46 members of the FDNY have tested positive for COVID-19. When it comes to testing others, Nigro said, “The fire department does not test. We do not have the ability to test, so we could only follow the directions of Department of Health in both the city and state.”
So a member has to be showing serious symptoms to get tested.
We're on the front lines fighting but we need the resources to win this battle. Right now, we do not have them….We need Staffing, testing, equipment and Support! https://t.co/5HAoXChyyK
— UFA NYC Firefighters (@UFANYC) March 22, 2020
For decades, the FDNY has responded to and transported New Yorkers with contagious diseases, so Nigro said they have protective gear. But with the growing number of coronavirus cases, “It’s not enough to cover the daily usage in the hospitals and by our first responders.”
The supply of masks, in particular, is critically low.
“We can only hope that the federal government hears our pleas here in New York and sends us the protective equipment that our members and that the folks working in hospitals need,” Nigro said.
Nigro said the number one way New Yorkers can help the FDNY is by only calling 911 for an emergency. For information on COVID-19, you’re asked to call 311.