TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - More than two dozen people who work for Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue have been on administrative leave because of coronavirus. The city’s fire chief says they’re filling in those missed shifts with other people in the department.
“Our first responders are on the frontlines dealing with patients everyday that are COVID positive,” said Chief Randy Smith with Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue.
Now, some Tuscaloosa firefighters know for themselves how it feels to test positive for coronavirus. Smith confirmed 25 people missed work Wednesday.
“Some have tested positive, others because they have been exposed directly.”
Smith said this has not affected the department’s ability to do its job. Some firefighters have been pulled from other positions on an as needed basis and others have worked overtime to make sure positions are filled. Those 25 people not working now is nearly half the number of people who were on leave from the department because of coronavirus recently.
“A week ago we did get up to 48 people off work at one point. But that was like for one shift cause I think the next day we had like ten people come back,” Smith continued.
Fire personnel have also been given advice how to protect themselves from coronavirus while off the job. That included wearing a face covering, repeatedly washing their hands and practicing social distancing.