To the families of Baltimore County Fire & EMS providers:Fire Chief Joanne Rund

In these unprecedented trying times, I know that the safety of your loved ones is your greatest concern. I understand; it is my greatest concern as well. We owe all of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic the best protection we possibly can offer.

I want to make you aware of the steps we are taking in Baltimore County to protect our first responders so they can return safely to you – and safely treat our patients.

First, we remind you that BCoFD personnel always use personal protective equipment (PPE) – gloves, for example -- and follow protocols designed to protect them and our patients from infection and illness; this is true even in normal times.

The threat posed by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 demands additional measures. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • A mandatory “Healthy Check-In Program” to make sure personnel come to work healthy. We take temperatures every time we start a shift, and ask basic screening questions about cough, fever and respiratory symptoms. If BCoFD personnel display any of those symptoms, they are sent home. The Healthy Check-In applies to civilian and sworn personnel and effective until further notice. Company commanders are responsible for documenting completion of these checks.
  • We have restricted visitors to our fire stations.
  • We have enhanced our normal practices for cleaning stations and apparatus. All personnel must disinfect the following surfaces three times a day: Desks, eating and food prep areas, phones, door knobs, push and pull door handles, sinks, bathroom mirrors, patient compartment areas and other heavily-trafficked or used surfaces.
  • All providers must wear the appropriate PPE based on information provided from 911 operators about the call and on observations at the scene, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control standards. (911 callers are screening calls for cough, respiratory symptoms and fever so we have a better idea of potential COVID-19 risk.)
  • The drivers of our medic units and other apparatus must wash hands thoroughly before entering the front of the cab for transport.
  • After a call, PPE must be removed in accordance with CDC recommendations.

Thank you so much for your support. We hear every day from residents who express their appreciation for the work your loved ones are doing. I hope that sustains you as we work together to get through these difficult days.

Fire Chief Joanne R. Rund