The San Francisco Fire Department has begun distributing 100 thermometers to screen firefighters against coronavirus, thanks in part to a donation from an NBC Bay Area viewer who did not want to be identified.
The department had been trying to gather the thermometers through usual channels, but the city vendor was out of stock and state and federal supplies were depleted, said department spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter.
“Shortly after our interview with you, I believe it was about a week ago, that’s when we did see a number of individuals contacting our EOC’s disbursement center and donation center to be able to provide us with tools, which are going to save lives,” Baxter said Tuesday, as firefighters drove by the department’s headquarters to pick up the donated devices.
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In the end, the unnamed donor provided the department 50 thermometers and the state came up with 50 more.
With the new stock, the department has started checking all employees three times a day – as they come to work, during their shift, and when they go home – just as what had been envisioned under the department’s COVID-19 response plan.
Some of the scanning thermometers will also be used to make quick checks of patients, augmenting the existing supply of traditional, reusable thermometers that are stocked in emergency response kits.
Although several city firefighters have been quarantined for potential exposure to COVID-19 - Baxter said that as of Tuesday no firefighters show symptoms of the virus.