Hendersonville fire chief says firefighting is changing right before his eyes amid COVID-19

Coronavirus

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Firefighting has always been a dangerous job. Now, with COVID-19, there are a whole new batch of problems to contend with.

Hendersonville’s fire chief told News 2, the time-honored profession is changing right before his eyes.

Hendersonville fire chief Scotty Bush said, “When I first started, one set of gear, badge of honor, you’d wear your dirty gear, things smelled like smoke. It’s not that way anymore.”

Now, Hendersonville fire crews begin the decontamination process right on the fire scene, Bush said.

“So we have these fire wipes, that we put on our necks faces and arms.”

According to chief Bush, Hendersonville has always taken contamination seriously, and COVID-19 has only intensified that.

The chief said Hendersonville Fire Crews utilized 2 sets of turnout gear for decontamination purposes, and the department did so long before COVID-19.

Bush said, “So we’ve had second sets of gear for a good 10 or 11 years now.”

Bush said having two sets of fire turnout gear allows firefighters to always have clean gear to wear on a call.

“We red bag ours on the fire ground. We put it in the apparatus. We take it back to the station, and into the washing machine. And then immediately take a shower and get ready to go on the next call.”

While battling the blaze, fire crews are right on top of each other, knocking back the flames. Bush said you can’t afford to worry about COVID-19 at that moment.

Afterwards, Chief Bush said, decontamination is paramount, and it will be this way for the foreseeable future.

“Absolutely, 100 percent, on every fire call, that is our policy and procedure to decontaminate and clean yourself on the fire ground.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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