Coronavirus: UVFA eating out more, adjusting training – Ukiah Daily Journal

Restaurant News

Local firefighters are eating out more these days in an effort to support local restaurants struggling to survive with to-go programs during the coronavirus crisis.

Rather than cooking and serving their own meals which is traditional among firefighters, Battalion Chief Justin Buckingham said Tuesday that “We’ve been trying to eat out, ordering to-go to try to help in this time of diminished business. That’s a big change, not doing as much cooking at the stations.”

Part of the confidence course is breaking though a interior wall

He noted that firefighters have a wide choice of foods to choose from as so many local restaurants are still open for take-out and some are even delivering, which he says is great for firefighters.

The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority has recently added two new firefighters, Tim Desbach from Ukiah and Jeff Morris from Sonoma County. The two men just finished the two week in-house training academy that all new firefighters must pass before they can enter their year-long probationary period, during which they will get more training.

A firefighter works though the wire prop on the confidence course

Buckingham says the academy “Covers all the basics of what we do and how we do them in Ukiah.” From there they will have additional quarterly training sessions on things like pulling hoses and rescue operations.

These two new hires, plus two more recruits currently undergoing background checks, would bring the fire department up to 18 staff, one fewer than the 19 funded positions.

Firefighters load a cross lay hose onto engine 6881

The coronavirus crisis has forced changes in the way the fire department does regular training.

“We’re trying not to gather in the firehouses,” Buckingham said. The department has put a moratorium on in-person training with volunteer firefighters and is doing more online training, which is not ideal but necessary. For staff firefighters training is done as much as possible out of doors, observing social distancing, and Buckingham notes that there has been no relaxing of regulations on training standards during the crisis.

On each shift are five firefighters. One engine and two firefighters at one station and one engine and two firefighters at the other and one battalion chief on duty. Firefighters are required to sanitize their stations morning and night and each engine as well.

All firefighters get their temperatures taken in the morning and in the evening and they are no longer allowed to take their uniforms home for washing, but must do their laundry at the stations.

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