FDSOA Offers Guidlines to Reduce Station COVID-19 Exposures

April 15, 2020
The Fire Department Safety Officers Association recommends the following procedures in order to reduce and/or avoid cross contamination of on-duty staff.

The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) recommends departments put into practice the following procedures in order to reduce and/or avoid cross contamination of on-duty staff.

At Shift Change

  • Designated Station Entry Point: Ensure compliance with the Self-Screening Checklist (see attached).
  • Removal of Personal Gear: Have firefighters remove and store their own PPE and personal items from the apparatus at shift change. Move personal belongings (bags, bedding, etc.) to their POV early to facilitate an expedited bunkroom/office transfer.
  • Limit Interface between Shifts: Limit interaction as much as possible between oncoming and leaving shifts.
  • Roll Call Location: Conduct roll call in a large space (e.g., apparatus bay) that facilitates a minimum 6-foot social distancing.

Station Socializing

  • While in Quarters: Do not congregate in small spaces (e.g., watch office, kitchen, etc.). Adhere to the 6-foot minimum spacing.
  • Reduce Chairs: Reduce the number of chairs located in common meeting spaces (kitchen, bull pen, offices, etc.) to physically deter people from gathering in the same space.
  • Station Training: Conduct training in a manner that maintains 6-foot minimum spacing.
  • Off-Duty Members: Do not allow off-duty members into the stations to work out or visit. Station Captains should develop a practice if a member needs to arrive the evening before his/her shift that will limit contact with others.

Station Meals

  • Stagger Times: Consider eating in shifts to reduce the staff interaction.
  • Eating Locations: Consider taking meals to alternate places in the station to create spacing.
  • Shared Items: Disinfect shared food containers and communal items.
  • Small Businesses: Consider supporting small businesses in your districts by ordering take out.

Department Mail

  • Modified Routing: Determine any changes that can be made to department mail to minimize potential for staff interaction.
  • Alternate Mail Pickup/Dropoff Locations: Identify a location (e.g., apparatus bay) that minimizes traffic flow through station living areas. Ensure that the location is clearly marked.
  • Electronic Delivery: Scan documents and email them whenever possible. When mail must be handled, consider wearing gloves and washing hands immediately thereafter.

Department Facilities

  • Facility Visits: Trips to fire department facilities should be limited to urgent department business only. When visits are necessary, limit the number of guests and make appointments when possible.
  • Battalion Chiefs: Communicate with Battalion members via phone or video conference. If a Battalion Chief needs to go to a station, maintain social distancing.


  • Base Layer: Encourage the use of a washable base layer on beds (e.g., sheet, blanket, etc.) to create an additional barrier between the bed and personal bedding.
  • Washing Frequency: Base layers should be washed after each shift.


  • Self-Monitoring Stations: Self-Monitoring Stations should be set up near the previously designated staff entrance to station.
  • Self-Screening Checklist: Provide self-screening checklist (see attached) and thermometer screening at station.


The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) was established in 1989 as a non-profit association, incorporated in Massachusetts. In 2013, the offices moved to Michigan. Its mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community. The association is led by a volunteer board of directors and has a small staff to handle the day-to-day operations. The association is dedicated to the issues that affect the critical role of the safety officer in protecting and promoting the safety and health responsibilities of fire departments, communities and first responders. FDSOA works to helps fire departments achieve proficiency and promote the recognition of training, skills and a secure future. In May 2016, FDSOA won the Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award for its work over 28 years, “as an organization fully dedicated to the health and safety of the nation’s firefighters.” FDSOA can be found on the web at www.fdsoa.org. Please follow FDSOA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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