Coronavirus: Fresno will now require police officers, firefighters to wear face masks

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "If we lose people 1, 2, 10, 20, 30, boy that can really harm our emergency responses," said Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis.

The city of Fresno is actively working to prevent that from happening.

To protect the firefighters and police officers from the spread of COVID-19 they will now be required to wear face masks while on the job.

"Police and fire, that is really a priority to make sure that they are going to try and stay healthy and safe throughout this pandemic," said Mark Standriff with the city of Fresno.



Currently, the city has a limited supply, but officials are working on acquiring more surgical and cloth masks for first responders.

"Surgical masks are really more for instances when they're making a medical call or in some way, shape or form are concerned that the person that they are dealing with might be infected," said Standriff.

Former Fresno Police chief and mayor-elect Jerry Dyer announced Friday a local business donated 5,000 N95 masks.

City officials say those will be used in emergency medical situations.
"Today those masks were delivered, I'm proud to say, so our police officers and our firefighters are going to have that added layer of protection," said Dyer.

Donis said every firefighter will be issued a mask every time they start work, and they'll be required to wear it for the entirety of the 48-hour shift. At the moment Donis estimates they have enough supplies for about 20 days, if everything goes as planned.

"Those homemade masks, they would be washing them daily, but inventory is tight across the country so everyone is scrambling to try and find masks," she said.

With supplies scarce, City officials are asking the community for help by making and donating cloth masks.

People can drop them off at City Hall during normal business hours.

Once police officers and firefighters are covered, remaining masks will go to city employees based on job duties.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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