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THE FRONT LINE: 'New normal' also affecting home life for Barrie firefighters

'We are in a profession that requires us to be adaptable and therefore this has been no different for us to adjust and make sure we still carry out our duties as best possible,' says platoon chief
2020-06-03 IM first responders
Barrie firefighters, from left, Josh Yurkiw, Pasha Moravskyy and Rob Readman wear masks that are standard issue during these days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ian McInroy for BarrieToday

Local first-responders make huge sacrifices in their lives — not only involving their responsibilities on the job, but also in regard to their home-life scenarios.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a new added risk to a list of many we already face day in and day out,” says Barrie Fire and Emergency Service platoon chief Eric MacFadden. “We have had to put into place some new safe-work practices to help us adjust to the C-19. We now wear a new level of protective equipment to (emergency) calls that include masks, face shields, glasses, gowns and more.”

At some level, that may have always been the case, but perhaps not at the level people in the world are seeing now, he adds.

“There was already equipment we had available," MacFadden says. "However, we now do it for calls until we are able to assess the risk and take the precaution to protect ourselves."

The pandemic also means firefighting men and women are scrubbed down at their fire halls before they head home to their families and friends, he adds, because they have to be safe before the go home.

MacFadden says at Barrie fire stations, firefighters adhere to the physical distancing as best as possible, as well as wearing masks any time distancing isn't possible.

“Crews wear masks in the truck while responding to calls since they are unable to be six feet apart. We also have done our best to allow for crew separation at the multi-truck hall by setting up separate work areas for each crew,” he says.

MacFadden says there is also a new daily routine, since COVID-19 arrived, involving a process that sees everyone go through a screening process each day when arriving at work and before going home.

“The C-19 pandemic has certainly made us change the way we function day in and day out. However, we are in a profession that requires us to be adaptable and therefore this has been no different for us to adjust and make sure we still carry out our duties as best possible,” he says.

“Crews also do a great job cleaning the halls, trucks and equipment daily.”

MacFadden says they always want to provide the best level of service to the community as they can. 

“Our job has never changed,” he says.

“Together we can make it safe for everyone involved. Limiting your exposure (to the virus) helps to limit ours' when you call for help. But regardless, we will be there in your time of need providing the best professional service possible.”


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