The following information is intended to help keep you safe and aware of any challenges we are facing regarding COVID-19. Please continue to check back as we will be updating on a regular basis.
Signs and Symptoms
Common coronavirus symptoms range from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may include:
Runny nose or nasal congestion
June 12 – For members in recovery from an alcohol or substance use disorder, public restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic can pose unique threats and challenges to an established recovery plan. To support continued recovery during these unprecedented times, we are offering IAFF online recovery meetings for members coping with or in recovery from an alcohol or substance use problem. Attend a Meeting
June 8 – The IAFF has released guidance on Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) related to COVID-19.
June 5 – We are saddened by the news that Local 22 member Eric Gore passed away from COVID-19 on June 2. Our hearts go out to his family and Local 22 brothers and sisters.
June 3 – See the IAFF’s updated guidance for resuming CPAT testing.
June 2 – See these new training videos from the San Antonio Fire Department featuring guidelines for designing and safely performing testing at skilled nursing homes and large-scale testing sites:
May 28 – IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger is quoted in today’s Washington Post story on the risk fire fighters and paramedics face without having the proper PPE they need during the coronavirus pandemic.
May 26 – Check out brand-new IAFF exercise guides, designed with the current environment in mind. More guides like these can be found in the Resources tab.
May 22 – Some states are starting to require fire fighters to assist with performing testing on residents in skilled nursing homes. These are hot zones and often the tasks are out of the scope of individuals’ training or practice. This testing guidance on best practices includes how to safely perform testing for both the nursing home residents and fire fighters.
May 20 – Until an effective vaccine is available, testing for COVID-19 can help slow the spread of the disease. Check out the new tab added to this resource page on COVID-19 Testing.
May 19 – With the significant health concerns related to COVID-19 and all the restrictions across the U.S. and Canada, the IAFF Executive Board on May 14, 2020, approved a motion to conduct the 2020 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial ceremony without attendees, broadcasting it as a respectful virtual ceremony on September 19, 2020. We will still be engraving members’ names on our Wall of Honor this year and will note those etched on our Memorial during the virtual ceremony. All 2020 honoree families will be invited to attend the 2021 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial where our fallen members will receive proper recognition along with those lost in 2020 at a traditional ceremony, with all families receiving their flag.
May 13 – The IAFF Financial Corporation is hosting a webinar Thursday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m. EDT on mortgage relief options with experts from CrossCountry Mortgage. Experts will discuss mortgage relief options, where to turn for help and how to avoid scams.
May 12 – The application deadline for the Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters COVID-19 Supplemental Program (AFG-S) is Friday, May 15. The $100 million in available funding will help provide personal protective equipment to fire fighters and first responders who are managing emergencies during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn More
The deadline for the Fiscal Year 2019 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program is also Friday, May 15. There is $350 million available in federal grants to add fire fighters to departments in need. Career, combination and volunteer fire departments are eligible to apply. Learn More
May 8 – During these times of uncertainty when we are encouraged to stay indoors, avoid group settings and practice physical distancing, it can be challenging to stay physically active. These IAFF exercise and physical activity resources can help:
May 7 – During a disease outbreak or pandemic, it is normal to have some anxiety about contracting the virus. However, if fear of COVID-19 is causing you or someone you love significant anxiety, these strategies can help you cope. Find more IAFF behavioral health resources here.
May 5 – Grow your local’s reputation as safety advocates. Many people are working from home for the first time – often while caring for children. This can increase the risk of household accidents. Share these resources for keeping families safe while they stay at home.
May 1 – In our latest IAFF Podcast, members of the IAFF Health and Safety Division discuss our behavioral health initiatives during COVID-19.
April 29 – We have developed Guidance for Fire Department and Union Operations to assist affiliates and their fire departments in returning to normal operations in accordance with federal, state and local guidance as communities begin to reopen to maintain the health and safety of our workforce as we continue to provide optimum service to our communities during this transition.
Our Fire Fighter Resilience During COVID-19 campaign beginning May 1 focuses on movement, nutrition, wellness, resilience, sleep and many other topics, and features health and wellness subject matter experts. Learn more …
April 28 – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hilton is donating one million room nights for frontline medical professionals in the United States (the Hilton link above will prompt you to log in to the IAFF website if you have not already). See our Hotels section for more offers.
April 24 – The IAFF continues to urge Congress to provide direct funding to fire and EMS to provide the tools and resources to keep our members on the frontines when communities need them most during this COVID-19 pandemic.
April 23 – See our Testing for COVID-19 Fact Sheet for important information about molecular and antibody testing.
April 22 – Coping With Grief During COVID-19 is our new resource for grieving in this era of social distancing, including the inability to gather and mourn with loved ones, which can make it difficult for some to move forward.
April 21 – Read the IAFF’s latest guidance document on identifying counterfeit respirators, which are being falsely marketed and sold as NIOSH-approved.
April 20 – Affiliate leaders from across the United States and Canada discuss how they’re using this toolkit to communicate to their members, the public, the media and elected officials about responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the latest episode of the The Kitchen Table.
April 17 – Protecting Your Finances in a Pandemic: IAFF members are on the frontlines, but some spouses may be out of work due to stay-at-home orders. If this is the case for your family and you are under financial stress, these are financial moves can you make right now.
April 16 – Beginning Monday, April 20, we will be offering online recovery meetings for members coping with or in recovery from an alcohol or substance use problem.
April 14 – Our latest episode of The Kitchen Table features four affiliate leaders from some of the states hit hardest by COVID-19 who share their experiences and discuss how they are addressing the challenges of keeping members safe while keeping up with changing protocols and guidelines.
April 13 – EXERCISE AT HOME – Unlimited options to meet your needs with limited-to-no equipment! New ideas posted every week.
April 12 – As feds play ‘backup,’ states take unorthodox steps to compete in cutthroat global market for coronavirus supplies
April 11 – Reduce the spread of COVID-19 by following our COVID-19 Best Practices: Social Distancing Guidelines for non-response work-related activities.
April 10 — See our updated guidance on surgical masks and cloth facemasks. While surgical masks are preferred as they provide more protection, cloth masks can be substituted at the station or at home. It is important to remember that facemasks are not worn to prevent exposure, but rather to limit the transmission of COVID-19 if an individual is asymptomatic.
April 9 — Watch our newest episode of the Kitchen Table addressing many of the health and safety issues affecting you on the frontlines during this COVID-19 pandemic, including preparation and personal protective equipment (PPE), exposure documentation, quarantine and protocols and guidelines.
April 8 – The following hotels are offering special rates and discounts to healthcare workers, including fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, who are on the frontlines in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and may need a place to stay close to their work location or to self-quarantine away from their homes and families to protect their loved ones.
The Warriors Research Institute (WRI) – run by IAFF Behavioral Health partner Dr. Suzy Gulliver – is offering telemental health services at no cost to all IAFF members in the United States. Learn more here.
April 7 – Public Assistance grants are available to support organizations with extraordinary costs associated with this event, including:
- Overtime or personnel backfill cost
- Expendable supplies, such as disinfectants, medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) (masks, gloves and gowns)
- Apparatus usage
April 6 – This episode of The Kitchen Table addresses many of the legal considerations and responsibilities affiliates need to know to conduct your union business during this COVID-19 crisis.April 3 – COVID-19 Guidance on Use of Surgical Masks
New video: COVID-19: The IAFF Has Your Back
April 2 – IAFF announces guidance on Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 1 – The Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has relaxed some requirements allowing fire departments to:
- Transport patients to alternative destinations, such as urgent care, community mental health facilities, physician’s offices and patient’s homes
- Allow fire departments to submit for reimbursement to CMS for the transport the same way as if transported to the hospital
- Provide telehealth services through a contracted physician to assist with treat and release with no transport
- Fire departments cannot bill for telehealth services directly but can arrange with the providing doctor. This is also a good way to lessen the burden on 9-1-1 call volume
March 30 — Watch this video message from General President Harold Schaitberger on how the IAFF is working to secure the tools and resources you need to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
March 28 — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/Health and Human Services Healthcare Resilience Task Force has established that fire/EMS agencies are at the same level of priority for PPE as hospitals, healthcare facilities and workers. See guidance for submitting resupply requests.
March 27 — Congress completed its work on an economic stimulus package intended to address the response to and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill includes significant resources for fire and EMS as follows:
- $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to reimburse fire and EMS departments for expenses related to the response to the virus.
- $100 million in funding through the Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant program, earmarked specifically for PPE and related supplies.
- $100 billion to reimburse healthcare providers, including EMS, for healthcare expenses or lost revenue, including costs related to medical supplies and equipment, such as PPE, increased workforce expenses and surge capacity.
- $41 million for the National Forest System and Wildland Fire Management for PPE and baseline health testing.
The CDC/NIOSH has updated the Ryan White Act to include COVID-19. Hospitals are now mandated to notify emergency response employees of any exposure to a positive COVID-19 patient.
March 25 – 10 Things Your Local Should Be Doing for COVID-19 Response helps identify the most important issues facing members and provide the information and resources needed to ensure best practices are in place.
March 24 – The IAFF has developed a new, more dynamic data tool to help you document exposures among members in your local/fire department and in departments across both countries. Once reported, this data will be available in real time so that we have a clearer picture of the impact of COVID-19 on our members and affiliates across the United States and Canada.
March 23 – Pearson Vue© has agreed to begin limited reopening of state-owned testing centers within colleges and universities as a means of allowing more than 12,000 students to take emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedic certification exams. This positive news follows a letter from General President Harold Schaitberger to the National Governors Association (NGA) to get more EMTs and paramedics certified as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 21 – Watch our new video on self screening and post the Self Screening Guidelines poster in every fire station.
Review the IAFF Return to Work guidelines.
Use the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) Exposure mobile app to help in collecting national exposure data for all fire fighters and paramedics. Watch the demo video on how to enter data.
March 20 – The IAFF’s Jim Brinkley talks with MSNBC about the di