ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The entire Lemay Fire Department has been quarantined after a firefighter tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. News 4 has learned St. Louis County has a plan in place to make sure no station goes understaffed.
All 43 fire departments in St. Louis County are part of the Continuity of Operations Plan.
“With this pandemic, there’s always the possibility of loss of our workforce and this plan guarantees, or tries to secure, this uninterruption [sic] of service," said Kirkwood Fire Chief Jim Silvernail.
Under the plan, the county is divided into four sections. If a fire station is understaffed due to crews quarantining, the other stations in that section are the first to offer help.
“That’s why we have this plan to give us a little bit of confidence, little bit of security to know that there are plans in place in case that happens but you really can’t live in fear of it because we have to continue business. Citizens will still call us," said Silvernail.
In St. Louis City, dispatchers still screen calls through a series of questions to see if a caller may have COVID-19 before sending crews inside.
A spokesperson for the department said with 30 fire stations across the city, its staff is large enough to fill gaps without requiring help from another department if someone tests positive, which has already happened.
The Lemay Fire Chief told News 4 one of his three crews just received their negative COVID-19 test results and will return to work Friday. Five firefighters are able to return to work, though the station will still rely on help from a couple of nearby departments until the next crew gets its tests results back.