Swine flu cancels firefighter outreach

October 7, 2009 6:53:23 AM PDT
Fears of swine flu infection has prompted the Durham Fire Department to suspend its community and public education events until the flu season ends.Chief Bruce Pagan said the need to limit exposure for his employees was critical to ensuring the department can carry out its primary duties in the coming months.

"If a significant portion of our workforce contracts the [swine flu] virus, our staffing levels could become severely impacted. Ultimately, when an emergency occurs, we want to make sure we are well and able to carry out our primary call of duty," he said.

Pagan said the Chapel Hill fire department has taken similar measures.

Previous planned events for the month of October will go on as scheduled, but people coming in for station tours will have to wash their hands on arrival, and anyone suspected of illness will not be admitted. Children won't be allowed in the cabs of fire trucks, or allowed to handle equipment like oxygen face masks.

"We are carefully monitoring this issue, and in the coming months we will make informed decisions as to when to return to normal operations," said Pagan.

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