Miami Beach Activates First Dedicated COVID 19 Response Team

March 19 • 2020

To reduce exposure and slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID 19), IAFF members and the entire emergency response community are quickly developing new protocols and response strategies. One example is Miami Beach Fire Rescue, in cooperation with Miami Beach, FL Local 1510, which created a dedicated COVID 19 response unit.

“During this crisis, our members are working outside the box,” says 12th District Vice President Walt Dix. “I am very proud of the smart ideas they are developing to keep our members safe while responding to these emergencies.”

Heeding the concerns expressed by the IAFF and national health officials, Local 1510 President Adonis Garcia and Miami Beach Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez met to discuss how best to respond to people who have been potentially exposed to the virus. Both agreed that a dedicated COVID-19 unit would be the best way to limit exposure.

As an added layer of protection, the three-member unit will wear an increased level of protective gear and respond from and return to the Mount Sinani hospital.

“As safety is our top priority. We thinks it’s best not to respond from fire stations,” says Garcia. “This keeps them from returning to station and unintentionally exposing other Local 1510 members to the virus.”

Decontamination areas have been established at the hospital where Local 1510 members undergo a full decontamination after every call.