Local volunteer firefighters make changes to protect themselves while helping others

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KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — The current COVID-19 crisis has not stopped local volunteer firefighters from responding to calls. 

Many fire departments changed their response patterns amid the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce exposure. FOX8 spoke with Beeson Crossroads Fire Department in Kernersville and Pleasant Garden Fire Department in Pleasant Garden Monday afternoon. 

“From head to toe, we are going to be covered to limit our chance,” said Andrew Gray, deputy chief of Beeson Crossroads Fire Department. 

When responding to medical calls, the departments only allow one or two firefighters inside of the business or homes to reduce potential exposure. 

“If it’s a heart attack or CPR, obviously we have to have direct patient contact, and that’s one of the reasons that the chief has limited the number of us who go into a residence,” said Ed Hampton, a longtime Pleasant Garden volunteer firefighter.

Since the virus outbreak, fire departments have purchased protective gear to wear on various calls.

“We have goggles to protect our eyes, a mask and then we have a gown that covers our entire body,” said Hampton. 

While COVID-19 is a big concern, Hampton says it’s not what he focuses on once they receive a call for immediate help. 

“We’re focused on what we’re doing, and sometimes after a call, you think about it, but we try to do everything we can to protect one another when we’re out on a call,” said Hampton. 

Oak Ridge Fire Department is not requiring its volunteer firefighters to respond to medical calls, however, they are responding to fire-related calls. 

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