Houston city officials address how firefighters are being protected from COVID-19

In Washington State, more than two dozen firefighters are in quarantine after being exposed to the COVID-19 while responding to calls.

On Saturday, while Houston remembered 75 fallen firefighters in a memorial ceremony, city officials also addressed what is being done to keep current firefighters and EMTs safe from the virus.

“If they are exposed, if they are ill, then it’s going to affect everybody. Not only the community that we serve but them and their family,” said Chief Sam Peña of the Houston Fire Department.

Peña added the department is changing how many personnel respond to certain types of calls to limit how many could be potentially exposed to the coronavirus.

“Until we get a good sense of what this virus is going to do,” he explained.

Peña says he is also making sure there is enough safety equipment and that it is being used properly.

Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Associations says the men and women of the department are concerned.

“I don’t know that everybody has all of the information, as far as the Houston firefighters, to feel as though we have enough of the resources especially given the shortage of manpower within the Houston fire department,” Lancton told FOX 26.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz was also at Saturday’s service.  He says the $8.3 billion spending bill passed in Congress this week includes emergency assistance for first responders. 

“That money was designed to be dispersed immediately,” Cruz stated.