SAN JOSE, CA – March 12, 2020 – Today, the City of San José announced that San José firefighters have contracted the COVID-19 virus. San Jose Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 230, on behalf of the 662 firefighters who serve the residents of San José, is providing updated details on the situation for our members in full support of the Department’s efforts. As the COVID-19 virus spreads throughout our city and San Jose firefighters respond to over 90,000 emergencies annually, COVID-19 is taking its toll. At this time, four (4) San José firefighters have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, two (2) are in ordered isolation at home with symptoms awaiting formal test results, and a total of nearly 80 have at one point been restricted from work due to documented exposures. Our sick firefighters also have multiple family members who have tested COVID-19 positive, and other family members with symptoms of the virus awaiting test results.
“As firefighters, we commit our careers and lives to serving the public in their time of need. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as it grows among our residents is an unprecedented challenge, and we are up to that challenge. But it is also taking a tremendous toll on us as we fall ill and support our ill family members,” stated Sean Kaldor, President, San Jose Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 230.
Working with the Fire Department, best practices have been adopted to safely treat the public, prevent spread of the disease and protect members from further exposure. Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines are being followed to limit exposures and manage firefighters who have been exposed. In the event that a firefighter is exposed without sufficient personal protective equipment to an individual that is determined to be COVID-19 positive or suspected to have the virus, that firefighter is removed from serving the public for 14 days and their symptoms are actively monitored, per those CDC guidelines.
Every firefighter uses best practices to decontaminate themselves, their equipment and their station. Living 24-hours a day in close proximity creates a situation where viruses can quickly spread. As a precaution, when a station is suspected to possibly be contaminated, firefighters are relocated and the station receives deeper level of cleaning and disinfection.
“We encounter infectious diseases on a daily basis. COVID-19 is the latest in a series of threats to the public and our firefighters. We are working closely with the Department, County EMS, and County Public Health to ensure best practices are followed to minimize transmission of this virus as the pandemic crosses San José. As firefighters, we are also have a close bond to each
other, supporting those of us who have become ill, and their families, in this time of heightened need,” concluded Kaldor.
In a city of over a million, it was only a matter of time before your San José firefighters would become exposed to what we all now know is COVID-19. Our mission as San Jose Firefighters is to protect the residents we serve. We are on the frontlines in this fight against the virus. We ask for every member of the public to follow all guidelines issued by the City, Public Health, CDC and other authorities to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lessen the burden on your limited emergency response, emergency medical and hospital resources.
For further questions, please contact:
Sean Lovens, Communications Director San Jose Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 230 (925) 872-4351 [email protected]
Sean Kaldor, President
San Jose Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 230 (408) 202-7265 [email protected]