Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis today issued a statement following a call with the President of the Florida Professional Firefighters and the President of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “It’s important we move heaven and earth to make sure our first responders get their COVID-19 tests turned around as quickly as possible, get the protective equipment they need, and are in strong communication with hospitals and county health units. We know there will be stress on supply chains and there may be situations where there are more needs than available resources, but when one fire fighter tests positive for COVID-19, an entire unit of fire fighters goes offline.
“On today’s call it became apparent that, while some COVID-19 tests can be turned around in a short amount of time, others may take more than a week – and that’s not an acceptable timeline for the men and women we need to not only fight the coronavirus, but respond to other emergencies like fires. First responders must be provided tests results as quickly as possible, so we can keep our communities protected.
“Additionally, it is imperative hospitals communicate better with first responders when entering facilities. There have been certain instances where fire fighters have brought individuals into hospitals and become exposed to COVID-19. Had they known they were being led to unsafe areas, they would have worn protective gear. These are avoidable issues that must be addressed immediately.”
On the call, the CFO committed to elevating these issues to Division of Emergency Management (DEM) leadership and installing a representative from each organization at the Emergency Operations Center to streamlines issues.
About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).