INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Police and firefighters continue to risk their health protecting the public. So far, 12 firefighters with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) and 12 officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) have tested positive for COVID-19.
IFD employs over 1,200 firefighters at 43 stations and IMPD has over 1,700 employees.
That's why leaders with both departments fully expect the number of positive coronavirus tests in their ranks will increase in the days and weeks ahead.
“We fully expect that due to the nature of our jobs, we'll have a rapid rise if positive test results of our officers,” said FOP President Rick Snyder. “That's just due to the large number of exposure opportunities our officers have.”
As for Indianapolis firefighters, a majority of their runs don't actually involve fires, but are EMS calls with hundreds of cases each day involving people with flu like symptoms.
To protect against COVID-19, all IFD crews have been given protective eye wear, masks, gloves and gowns when treating sick patients.
At the same time, IMPD is encouraging victims of numerous non-violent crimes to make a report over the phone.
“That is a huge help because it relieves runs from officers who are on the streets and on the front lines,” said Snyder.
Snyder insists the public will play a huge role in protecting both police and firefighters.
“The biggest thing residents can do to help is draw down numbers of calls for service,” said Snyder. “We're in the middle of a public health crisis. We're trying not to have a public safety crisis.”
The police and firefighters that have tested positive are in home quarantine and won't return to work until they are cleared by a doctor.