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Union: Entire Nashville Fire Department should get tested for COVID-19

PHOTOS: Fire Damages 3 North Nashville Homes
Posted at 8:46 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 22:30:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A handful of Nashville Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

The president of the International Association of Firefighters has some concerns.

“The ideal situation wouldn’t be to close a station, if you need to quarantine all personnel from that station, then do it," said Mark Young.

Young thinks it would be great to do rapid-result testing for the entire fire department and “and stop the spread.”

While waiting for test results, he believes firefighters and paramedics who were in contact with the people who are positive should quarantine.

“If staffing is going to get in the way of that, overtime has got to be used,” Young said.

The department has transported nearly 290 COVID-19 patients. So far, two EMS division workers and three firefighters with the suppression division tested positive. The firefighters who contracted the virus have since recovered. Compared to other major cities, Young said those numbers it’s not terrible.

“They have [an] adequate supply of PPE and I think if we want to look back and see why the City of Nashville has been doing so well in the emergency services is because of the PPE,” Young said.

According to a spokesperson for the Nashville Fire Department, they continue to update their COVID-19 protocol. They issued a statement:

“Our NFD personnel have done an excellent job adhering to these protocols when responding to calls for service. We are hopeful that our five employees who currently have COVID-19 will have a smooth and speedy recovery. The fact our number of COVID19 cases in the department are so low is directly tied to the professional job our personnel do on every shift."

Currently, Nashville Fire employees are being told to get tested if they have symptoms.

“I think the department has got to be ahead of this, and not behind it," said Young.

Officials distributed decontamination mist to the fire halls for cleaning. They’ve also increased their use of PPE. In addition, Nashville Fire Department employees get their temperatures checked before and after their shift.