(Red Oak) -- KMAland fire departments are sending a message to the public during the coronavirus crisis: you are not alone.
At around 7 p.m. Wednesday, numerous area departments opened their fire station doors, and activated fire truck lights. Red Oak's Fire Department was among the participants. Red Oak Fire Chief John Bruce tells KMA News the demonstration was based on an Iowa Firefighters Association email asking all of the state's fire departments to show their support for the public during the COVID-19 spread, and to remind them that firefighters are still there for them.
"With everything going on, and just the folks being concerned, and so forth," said Bruce, "the firefighters association felt it was important to get the message out there that while we go through these times, nobody stands alone. The emergency services folks are right here with you, and we stand with you, and we're all going to get through it."
Like other departments, Bruce says Red Oak's firefighters are taking steps to protect themselves, and continue serving the public at the same time.
"It's just going through and making sure we have the right proper equipment," he said. "We're continuously cleaning equipment repeatedly, daily. The fire station is currently closed to normal public traffic. It's kind of one of those deals where we like to be out and interacting with folks. So, we try to keep busy within the firehouse with various drills and activities, just to keep the cabin fever down. We're sitting really good."
While it comes to fire calls, the chief says his department is practicing certain procedures.
"We've got some protocols in place with the dispatch center," said Bruce. "So, when calls come in, they're actually going to start doing some questions with the folks if the call comes in. Then, we have reduced the amount of staff that will be on a particular piece of equipment. Just in case there is an exposure, we keep that limited to the personnel that could potentially be involved with that."
In addition, Bruce says his firefighters and others thank the health care providers, food service workers and others who are helping to keep the country operating in this time of need.