Coronavirus hits Atlanta firefighters sending about a dozen home

The city of Atlanta sent ten more firefighters home Thursday after it was revealed one firefighter had contracted COVID-19.

Dozens are away from their stations right now, either starting or ending a quarantine period.

The president of the union said the impact of the virus can be significant in any fire department due to how these government employees work.

Firefighters live together during part of the week, and then go home the rest of the week.

"We are concerned, sure," Paul Gerdis said.

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He added the fire department has a great plan for how they work when they go out to treat a coronavirus patient.

"Initially, we send only one firefighter inside the home to limit exposure," the union leader said. "If the patient can walk out, we ask them to do that."

But having enough healthy and rested firefighters to get to your emergency is a challenge right now.

The department was short before the advent of the coronavirus. The optimum staffing per shift is around two hundred. Gerdis said there have been some shifts recently with staffing at 140.  

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