Not long after we rang in the new year, we began hearing about a deadly disease outbreak in Wuhan, China. Within a short timeframe, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread throughout the United States; it is impacting our communities in an unprecedented way. To slow the spread of COVID-19, Minnesotans are faced with a new reality of social distancing, a statewide stay at home order, and the closing of restaurants and bars. Our public health system is preparing to handle a massive influx of patients; we are also faced with the sad reality that some may not be able to recover.
For Minnesota first responders, there is no such thing as telecommuting or working from home. Every definition of an essential employee includes those on the front-line of this national crisis: firefighters, police officers, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. We took an oath to serve: our communities need us now more than ever.
The health, safety, and welfare of Minnesota firefighters is our top priority. In response to the pandemic, the MSFCA created the COVID-19 Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of senior fire service leaders that are working to support the Minnesota fire service during this crisis. This includes sharing current protocols, guidelines, tools, and resources on a new website at www.MSFCA.org/COVID19, responding to your questions sent to COVID19@MSFCA.org, and coordinating directly with the Department of Public Safety and the State Fire Marshal Division. The MSFCA is devoting its attention to making sure the Minnesota fire service has the information, resources, and support during this difficult time.
During good times and bad, I know that the dedication, commitment, and passion of the Minnesota fire service is unwavering. While the strategies and tactics to combat this crisis are not necessarily covered in a firefighting textbook, the fire service has a robust foundation of knowledge, experience, and training to confront this crisis head-on.
Above all, the women and men on the front-line need leadership. They are looking to you to lead through this crisis.
It is my personal commitment to you that the MSFCA will continue to support the Minnesota fire service today, tomorrow, and long into the future.
My sincere thanks and appreciation to you for your support and trust in the MSFCA. This Association exists because of the incredible support of our members, committees, vendors, staff, and supporters. We truly can’t do this without you.
Please do not hesitate to call me directly at 763-286-1288, email President@MSFCA.org, or contact the COVID-19 Task Force at COVID19@MSFCA.org. We are here for you.
My best wishes to you, your department, and your family.
Note: this article appeared in the Spring issue of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association magazine. For other articles by leading fire service professionals, join the MSFCA today! Magazine memberships are available!