Richmond Fire Department takes the threat posed by the novel strain of coronavirus and the
disease process it causes, now referred to as COVID-19, with the utmost seriousness. It is the standard
operating practice of this department to ensure the ongoing health and safety of all our personnel and
To that end, we acknowledge and accept our responsibility as the front-line responders in
times of crisis. The mission of the Richmond Fire Department remains unchanged; we will protect the
lives and property of the people of Richmond from fires, natural disasters, and hazardous materials
incidents and save lives by providing emergency medical services.
RFD has maintained a heightened awareness of the events that have unfolded starting with the
Wuhan Province of China throughout December of 2019. We began actively monitoring the domestic
situation on January 20, 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Washington State. In February, we
began securing, inventorying, and increasing our supply of personal protective equipment. At that time,
some items were already in high demand and short supply from our typical supplier. We immediately
began sourcing PPE through alternative methods and are currently adequately equipped for daily
On February 27, a memo went out to our personnel detailing the emerging threat and our initial
plan for addressing the situation. On March 11, all personnel began twice daily screening for respiratory
symptoms and fever. On March 13, all stations began restricting public access, social distancing policies
were enacted, and heightened awareness on emergency runs was instituted. These three memos became
the foundation for what is now known as the Richmond Fire Department COVID-19 Response Plan.
This document has changed daily, and in some cases hourly, as the pandemic has continued to evolve.
All processes and procedures related to COVID-19 are outlined in this document, which is made
available to all personnel at all times. A conference call outlining updates is held on nearly a daily basis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published guidelines for healthcare personnel that
have rapidly changed throughout this crisis. These guidelines have, from the beginning and continually
as we move forward, defined our department’s response plan.
To clarify the terminology used during this pandemic, the following definitions are in place:
1) Suspected COVID-19 Patient – Any patient displaying respiratory symptoms or fever, all
unconscious/unresponsive patients, any non-traumatic cardiac arrests, and any patient requiring
an aerosolizing procedure (oxygen mask, CPAP, nebulized breathing treatments, etc.)
2) Exposure – Any contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient. Exposure is
considered low risk if recommended PPE usage is in place.
3) Self-monitoring – 14 day period following exposure to a confirmed or suspected COVID-19
patient in which personnel record temperature and respiratory symptom checks twice daily.
4) Quarantine – 7 day (minimum) period in which personnel are isolated and may not work after
developing fever or respiratory symptoms.
Testing for COVID-19 is now mandatory and provided for our members required to quarantine.
Additionally, the following processes and procedures are in place:
1) Fire Stations are restricted from public access.
2) Twice daily screening of all personnel for fever/respiratory symptoms.
3) PPE requirements based on current CDC guidelines.
4) Professional station disinfection on a weekly basis. Additional disinfection by personnel daily.
5) Social distancing policies to include conference calls versus face-to-face meetings and limiting
personnel moving through stations.
6) Emergency medical treatment guidelines based on CDC, Indiana State Health Department, and
Indiana Department of Homeland Security recommendations.
7) Personnel self-monitoring, quarantine, testing, and return to work guidelines as recommended by
As we navigate through this pandemic it is inevitable that some 1st Responders on the front lines
are going to be affected. While we are tracking prehospital encounters and working closely with Reid
Health to monitor suspected exposures, it is impossible to determine the actual source of infection. We
will provide daily updates on the number of department personnel affected by COVID-19. This
information is also being provided to the Wayne County Health Department and they will proceed with
their processes accordingly.
These are indeed unique and concerning times. Rest assured, every precaution is being taken to
ensure the health and safety of Richmond Fire Department personnel and their families. We appreciate
the support of the community as we strive to fulfill our mission daily. Please, help our country by
practicing social distancing and, above all else, don’t forget to wash your hands!
Benjamin K. Simmons