MANCHESTER, NH – While four Manchester police officers tested positive for COVID-19, no city firefighter, to date, has tested positive for the virus, according to Fire Chief Dan Goonan.
“Our peak was six people out that were quarantining or had a loved one who tested positive,” he said on Tuesday, April 7. “As of yesterday we were at two.”
As the number of cases continue to climb across the state, with the surge not expected until the end of April or early May, Goonan said fire crews are more cautious when responding to calls. New dispatch protocols were implemented to better identify those who may have medical conditions consistent with the virus.
Crews consistently are wearing masks, goggles and gloves, even for calls with no COVID-19-related symptoms, he said.
The fire department currently has enough personal protective equipment and employees are social distancing, hand washing and following other measures.
“I think stay at home measures, closing schools and all the other social distancing measures are helping to keep our medical call volume down and is helping our situation in this community,” he said.
One consequence of the stay at home order is an uptick in major fires over the last several weeks.
A fire on March 27 at 232 and 234 Spruce St. destroyed two apartment buildings, damaged four other buildings, destroyed several cars and displaced 12 families.
Goonan said that and other fires were attributed to the disposal of smoking materials.
“People being more active at home and staying indoors should still be practicing good fire safety measures,” he said.
Fires caused by improper disposal of cigarettes are a major hazard for people living in apartment buildings.