Not sure if we will be able to have a formal meeting in the near future so we would like to send out some info to let you know what we have going on.
Not real sure how to start this off but here goes.
The fire department is in the middle of a terrible nationwide pandemic. We can't just rely on that senior member or officer to keep us safe and make this difficult situation go away. The pandemic has affected everything we know. It is at home and at work and everywhere we go. It's pretty much all you hear anymore and think about thousands of times a day. The fact is that we are in this together and no one is alone. We will overcome this and be a stronger group in the end. To get there we must work together and be willing to adjust to how we have done things in the past.
Several weeks ago before it reached the United States we approached administration to prepare planning for various situations that may arise during this pandemic. All of our concerns have not been met but we continue to try and work them out. Some of these are the exact concerns that you have today such as:
Will I be covered if I get sick? According to our risk manager this would be a covered injury if you contract the virus. Similar to the Oklahoma firefighters presumptive law we feel that the burden of proof would be on the city to prove that you did not contract the disease on duty.
Why do I have to use my own sick leave if I am not sick? We have been addressing this for the past week, and if you do feel sick please stay home. We have not reached a resolution and are filing a grievance to address.
Why do I have to reuse my PPE? If we didn't we wouldn't have any at all. This is the only choice we have at this time and is a problem for all organizations worldwide. This is one of the things we will just have to work with. We are confident that if they can get us more equipment they will.
How can the city can tell me where I can and can't go off duty? During this crisis they just want us to be aware of the dangers and possible circumstances that we may face if we travel. Everybody wants everybody to stay safe and healthy all the time. Nobody wants to put someone else in harms way. We would recommend no travel right now to all members for your safety. Now we understand that you could get the virus by just filling up at the gas station or buying toilet paper(if you can find it) but If you must travel there may be a quarantine period upon your return. We must all take personal responsibility for our actions, especially during this time where your actions can affect others.
We are sure you have other questions and we welcome them and input you may have. We are here for you and happy to help.
Before we end this, we would like to again say we are in this together. Nobody is alone. This will be an extended situation. It will take its tole physically and mentally. More than likely this will affect people and families we know. Reach out to others and talk to people about how you are feeling. We are sure that you are not alone in your feeling and others will feel the same. Take care of yourself and eat right, get plenty of rest and don't take chances. There are people and websites here to help if you need it. You can follow the IAFF and their info on the coronavirus here: https://www.iaff.org/coronavirus/