Lexington Fire Union preparing for new ‘normal’

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — As people think about the state re-opening for business it’s becoming clear we won’t be able to go right back to our old habits.

Some of those working the frontlines, like Lexington firefighters, are trying to deal with what they’re seeing right now while also preparing for what the new ‘normal’ might look like.

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The Lexington Fire Union is making steps towards society’s re-opening.

“The public health of the community of Lexington is a team approach and firefighters need the community to help us keep them safe,” says Lexington Local Firefighters 526 Union President, Kevin Pletzke.

A lot has changed for firefighters, their equipment, what their training looks like.

Not only has the virus changed firefighters ‘normal’, many know first hand what COVID-19 feels like.

“Nearly 50 people either isolated or quarantined in the Lexington Fire Department. So that’s about 10% of our fire department,” says Pletzke.

Pletzke says thinking about opening up again, firefighters are relying on people to take slow steps back to normal, following state and CDC rules.

“So that hospitals, first responders, we can hav the personal protective equipment and capacity in place to take care of those who may get sick as we start to ease some of the restrictions,” says Pletzke.

To not overwhelm since the virus and its effects aren’t just going to poof into thin air.  Firefighters want to provide the level of service the community expects, they just need some help doing it.

“We would ask that if you follow the guidelines that come forth and we do that in a step-wise fashion, a measured approach, we’ll be able to handle all these things and so will emergency departments,” says Pletzke.

Firefighters don’t just respond to fires. There are also CPR classes, calls for elderly people who have fallen, home visits, and much more.

Pletzke says how firefighters do all that will have to change.

He says social distancing will remain as important as ever.

“As much desire we have to go out and enjoy this beautiful day for example, we may kick back to the beginning and start this whole process again,” says Pletzke.

Pletzke says he knows that’s the last thing anyone wants so help him help you to do his job of protecting and serving.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.