The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) continues to impact our daily lives, but we at FOP Lodge #4 remain committed to supporting our members. As first responders, our duty to service means placing ourselves at the front line of response efforts and increasing our own risk of exposure to this worldwide health pandemic. Just last week, two of our officers tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and as of today 35 have been quarantined for a period of time for possible exposure.
As we strive to meet this challenge, we encourage you to take every precaution possible to ensure the continued health and safety of you and your families. Remember to use the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) even on the most routine calls and if you are not feeling well, please stay home. While you and your co-workers continue to demonstrate immense bravery through your service, remember that the most heroic step you can take to stop the spread is to stay home.
To help ensure our members have access to the equipment they need, FOP Lodge #4 recently accepted and distributed two donations of 500 N95 masks from Universal Packaging in Cockeysville as well as a donation of 3,000 surgical masks. As a lodge, we’ve also been doing our part to support the communities who have been most impacted by this pandemic. Our Executive Board of Directors unanimously approved a $1,000 donation to the Baltimore County Response Fund to supply approximately 450 families with fresh food from local vendors.
With Maryland’s caseload continuing to grow, so is our commitment to fulfilling our duties to precincts across Baltimore County. As president, I continue to participate in daily conference calls with Chief Hyatt, her Command Staff and the Incident Management Team and provide input and suggestions on behalf of the FOP. Our Lodge also assumed a local and statewide leadership role last week when we submitted a letter to Governor Hogan, County Executive Olszewski, Senate President Ferguson and House Speaker Jones requesting they declare any illness or injury related to COVID-19 a work-related presumption for worker’s compensation. I have asked the Maryland State FOP Lodge, Baltimore County Firefighters Local 1311, and BCFPE LOCAL 4883 to join me in making the same request of our local and state leaders.
While we await their response and hopeful action, please keep personal documentation about the types of calls you respond to, the people you have had contact with, at work and in public, and your use of PPE. This will be your best protection and evidence in the event you have to file a COVID-19 worker’s compensation claim.
The leadership of FOP Lodge #4 would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for your service, in these historic and unprecedented times. Should you or a family member be instructed to self-quarantine, know that we are here to help. To stay updated on the issues impacting our members, visit www.foplodge4.org and follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.