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First responders to wear protective gear; fire hall closed to public meetings

COURTESY PHOTO: CORBETT FIRE - Corbett Fire District has made operational changes to better protect its first responders.Corbett Fire District has made procedural adjustments to protect both its first responders from the novel coronavirus and the community from emergencies.

The main changes are designed to minimize exposure to the virus. Regardless of the nature of the call, all first responders will approach potential patients with full personal protective equipment.

In most calls, it will be only one responder who initially enters a home to assess the situation. A decision will then be made on the best treatment for the patient.

"This is a change, but people have been very understanding," said Fire Chief Dave Flood.

Volunteers will no longer meet on Monday nights to drill during the health crisis. Instead, they will take online classes to improve skills. The fire hall also will no longer be available to the public for meetings.

Longtime board member, Leroy Smith, who has been with the department since the 1960s, cannot recall the building ever being closed to the public.

The Corbett Fire Board will hold its April 8 monthly meeting via conference call. The Ferd Riehl Scholarship Breakfast, normally hosted in June, has been postponed.

"We are considering alternative ways of funding the scholarship at this time," said Joe Fahlman, president of the Corbett Firefighter Association.

Equipment is still being maintained on a regular basis. The emergency call rate is running about one-half of what it normally does.

"Our medical supplies are in good shape and the cooperation with AMR ambulance has been outstanding," Flood said.

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