Firefighters tackle new roles amid coronavirus concerns

Fire Safety Educators, Inspectors transitioned to disinfectant crews

Orange County, Fla. – Leaders with Orange County Fire Rescue told News 6 the number of calls they’re getting potentially related to the coronavirus has risen from a couple of calls a day to a couple of dozen calls.

On Thursday, one firefighter tested positive for COVID-19 and is under self-quarantine. The agency has also started putting surgical masks on anyone they come in close contact with in the field.

Amid all this, Fire inspectors Teresa Camacho and Neal Crawford found themselves in a role unlike any other they've had before.

"My regular job, I'm assigned at the convention center," Crawford said. "We inspect the shows coming to the convention center to make sure they're up to code and safe for the public."

From door to door these two orange county fire inspectors move from station to station, disinfecting everything come across to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

"We're helping out where we can," Crawford said. "We're doing our best to keep all the surfaces and the rescue and the fire station clean to keep the firefighters clean."

The last inspection these two firefighters worked at the Orange County convention center was for girls volleyball, which was about a month ago.

Since then, the parking lot at the convention center has turned into the largest testing site for coronavirus in Central Florida.

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Last week, News 6 tagged along with a battalion chief, who was using the motorized disinfectant spray apparatus created by AeroClave to clean fire rescue offices. The yellow toolbox sprays an enclosed space and fills it with a disinfectant spray which falls on every surface in a matter of minutes.

But as quick as it can clean, it wasn't fast enough, as requests continued to come in.

"The numbers are getting to a level where they are needing some assistance so that's why the office of the fire marshal sending us over to help out," Crawford said.

For Crawford and Camacho, they’re okay with taking on the role of the cleanest firefighters in the county.

"It's a fluid environment and you have to adjust and roll with the duties," Crawford said.

Orange County Fire Rescue leaders said they’re also utilizing life safety educators, who handle training in the school in the district, as part of this newly created disinfectant crews utilizing AeroClave on equipment and offices.

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