A Message from the Centralia Fire Chief

March 21, 2020

Citizens can expect to see emergency responders looking differently and taking extra precautions.

Please try to understand and not be offended that on all types of fire department responses extra precautions will be taken and less personal contact will be made for the safety of our responders. A responder may start asking questions from a safe distance to establish that the patient is not positive with the virus or that anyone in the home has not been sick.

Calls with flu like symptoms will be treated as if the patient is positive with the virus. Gown, Eye Protection, and n95 face mask will be worn. Goggles must be worn if performing CPR, breathing treatments, or any procedure where the virus may be aerosolized.

If a patient is known to be breathing, is able to communicate with responders, and the area is deemed safe for responders. Then only one responder will enter the home and be within 6 feet of the patient, and care for patient. If the ambulance arrives at the scene before the Fire Department or they arrive simultaneously our members will wait until needed before entering the home.

We are taking extra precautions If we have been on a suspected flu or sickness call, we will be immediately washing our clothing and decontaminating. As always if any item has touched a patient, we wipe it down with a disinfectant before being placed back into service.

We are washing our duty clothing at the fire station. We are wearing street clothes to work and changing into a duty uniform once we are in the station.

Making sure hands are washed even more than normal.

Taking extra time to wipe down steering wheels, door handles, phones, handsets, and all surfaces giving extra attention to station duties. Unnecessary tours and visits will be rescheduled until the virus threat is gone. No visitors will be allowed at the Fire Station during this time. If a visit is necessary, we will visit someone outside on the apron. We are sorry for the inconvenience but we simply just cannot let children inside our fire trucks at this time.

We are taking every step possible to protect our Emergency Responders and keep them from exposing their families. Please keep them in mind to help everyone stay healthy. Buy what you need to stay safe but remember others still must be able to respond to emergencies, and we are struggling to maintain available supplies to keep items clean and sanitized as well as mask to protect our responders.

—John L. Lynch, Fire Chief