As frontline workers continue to be vigilant in the fight against COVID-19, the Alberta Fire Fighters Association has faced its fair share of challenges.
President of the AFFA Brad Readman said they currently have more than 300 members in self-isolation, roughly 10 per cent of the workforce.
“We expect to see that number drop as the majority of those cases are due to travel, but we are now starting to see the number of symptomatic isolation cases increase, ” Readman said, adding that jurisdictions which are further along in the outbreak, staffing has become a concern.
He noted that for the time being, AFFA members are staying safe by following their training and advice from infectious disease professionals.
Still, he cautioned that making sure those frontline workers stay safe throughout the crisis is a priority and they’ve been in talks with the government to work out better guidelines if an employee contrast the illness.
“We need to ensure that those working in these high-risk environments have the peace of mind to know that themselves and their families will be protected if something were to happen to them,” he said.
In addition, around the world, demand for N-95 masks has slowly begun to outweigh supply. Readman said as it stands at the moment, firefighters in Alberta are well-stocked for the fight against COVID-19.
“Currently our members are reporting adequate levels of supplies, but that can turn quickly as we are seeing south of the border,” he said.
“Therefore, we must be extremely selective with the use of these types of PPE, and we would ask that the general public leave these types of supplies for those making patient contact.”