OKC FD Reduces COVID-19 Exposure After Implementing Mask Policy

Monday, August 10th 2020, 5:29 pm
By: Caleigh Bourgeois

Officials at the Oklahoma City Fire Department said they’ve mitigated the threat of COVID-19 in the workplace through a new mask policy.

In June, the department entered the most critical phase of its COVID-19 emergency plan, forcing employees to limit personal leave.

“I believe, the highest mark we reached was about 110 firefighters in quarantine and somewhere between 16 and 19 were positives,” Oklahoma City Fire Department Maj. Louie Marschik said of the June statistics.

In less than two months, the department is now back at its least critical emergency plan phase.

“We have 13 in quarantine and we’re down with two in positive testing,” Marschik said of the current numbers.

A workplace mask policy was implemented for the fire stations in late June.

It’s something Shift Commander David Shearer oversees.

Masks are required during shift change, and during almost all interactions on the job.

“Once shift change is over, the masks are still required anytime you’re in a common area in the fire station. So, if you’re in the kitchen or in our day room or passing through the rig room, you would be required to wear a mask,” Shearer said.

Since the start of the pandemic, the department has utilized their special team of paramedics to test and contact trace for anyone on staff who may have been exposed

The same unit is also helping do the same for the police department and some city workers.

“Our numbers have gone down dramatically. Things are looking good as of right now,” Marschik said.

The mask policy will remain in effect until further notice.