What a year it has been for all of society’s worldwide! A pandemic for the ages. This past year has been the most difficult year of my career in the fire service and my proudest! This pandemic has stressed the Fire Department each and every day. At the onset, our calls for service declined quite dramatically. This was good as it allowed us to properly adjust our management of patients with “COVID-19 like symptoms”.
The firefighters have additional responsibilities due to Covid-19. In order to protect all patients and staff, additional personnel protective equipment (PPE) must be donned. At the completion of the call each squad must be thoroughly decontaminated, each EMT must shower, change, and launder their uniforms. All of this takes time. Our average a pre-pandemic squad call lasted approximately 90 minutes.
Currently, time has risen to over two hours with clean up! During this time, the squad and most importantly, the crew is out of service and unavailable for another emergency call. Additionally, ALL fire apparatus, EMS units, staff vehicles and fire stations must be disinfected each day. These are just a few examples of how the pandemic has affected the Fire Departments day to day operations.
Earlier I stated this was also my proudest year in the fire service. Due to one thing and one thing only, ALL the employees of the Macedonia Fire Department! They have performed their duties flawlessly during this very difficult time. Our firefighters accepted the risk of their jobs from day one. They knew that if tragedy were to strike, their families would be taken care of for the rest of lives in remembrance of them. Now, 2020 arrives. The risk that these firefighters accepted for themselves has a much greater reach!
Their job could possibly make their families ill or worse! It certainly added additional stress to these firefighters and their families. But through it all, they came to work and preformed all their duties and additional duties admirability. Day in and day out they are the same caring firefighters they were the first day they walked into the fire station, hence they take this responsibility very seriously as they have seen the tragic side of some Covid-19 illnesses.
As I reflect on this year, I have realized how very lucky I am to have the staff I have! From the Assistant Chief to the Administrative Assistant to the Lieutenants to the newest Rookie Firefighter I bow to each and every one of you! You are the best anyone could ask for and you are here to serve OUR community! I am beaming with pride to have the honor to lead this talented staff when our community needs us most!
Keep up the GREAT work!
Chief Brian Ripley