FFCA Business and Operational Updates

Last Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Please refer to this page for the most up-to-date information regarding the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association's operational and business proceedings in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

**Until further notice, and in an abundance of caution, the FFCA has suspended all Association related face-to-face meetings due to the dynamic changing situation with COVID-19 pandemic.**

For the latest news, information and resources regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the FFCA Coronavirus Resources page.

FFCA Fire Service Liaison Officer

CFO Patronis and Director Julius Halas helped the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association establish a position for a FFCA representative in the State Emergency Operations Center in an effort to help our members get access to information in a timely manner and to provide a mechanism for our members to get questions answered at a State EOC level. The FFCA now has a Fire Service Liaison Officer in the State EOC working with ESF 4 & 9 to disseminate information to Florida’s Fire Service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fire Service Liaison Officer will serve as the single point of contact within the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) for the fire chiefs and chief officers of Fire-Rescue agencies in the state, concerning questions that are unanswered at a County level. The Fire Service Liaison Officer will help fire chiefs and chief officers of Fire-Rescue agencies connect with positions in the SEOC, research and identify information for chiefs, offer technical assistance with a fire service perspective to SEOC staff, and help keep the FFCA informed of relevant information so that the FFCA can share this knowledge with its membership. Division Chief of Training, Patrick Kendrick, of Tamarac Fire Department is currently serving the third two-week tour as our Fire Service Liaison Officer.

FFCA Fire Service Liaison Officer’s Information Dissemination Reports

FFCA Member SEOC Inquiries/Requests

Submitted: 22
Being processed: 0
Waiting for response: 0
Completed: 22

Request for information about fireworks sales and permitting as might be affected by COVID 5/1/20 Complete 5/1/20 Discussed inquiry with Fire Marshals in ESF 9 and was advised that no changes were made to fireworks sales or permitting at this time but that the governor had issued EO for no more than 10 persons in a public place which would effect pubic getherings to watch  fireworks.


Request for information 5/1/20 Complete 5/1/20 Request for information about lifegaurds with exposure to COVID and how to decon, discussed with ESF8 and was advised requestor should consult with medical advisor for the jurisdiction for exposure procedures.


Request for mobile testing vehicle to reach unserved populations of West Palm Beach. 5/1/20 Complete 5/1/20 Discussed request with SF 8 and they advised to have requestor email them directly. Directed requestor to do so and requestor complied and  cc'ed ESF 4/9 copy of request to ESF8.


Check the status of mission numbers 4/16/20 Complete 4/16/20

Audited webeoc and located the disposition of the requests. Sent an email with an attachment of Mission 11758 that addresses the Missions in question.  

Provided the Mission allocation that was completed and sent to requestor's County EM. From there the County is to distribute based on their priority needs. I would check with them for PPE allocations. The disposable thermometers were NOT in this shipment. I will check on that missions disposition and if that is something they are going to fill at this time.

I would like to have some clarification on what is considered to be the proper eye protection for First Responders regarding the COVID-19 situation. We have used safety goggles, Safety Glasses, Procedural Masks with shields etc. I have been advised these are not appropriate due to not sealing around the sides. I was informed the requirement now is goggles with the ability to create a seal on the face, around the eyes. Can you advise what is acceptable (appropriate) and preferred at this time? 4/11/20 Complete 4/11/20 We spoke to ESF 8 pertaining to your concern and they advised you should seek direction from your Medical Director. I have attached a link to the CDC website that addresses the matter further and may aid in your decision making process. I hope this helps and if we can be of further assistance feel free to reach out.

Today on a Countywide Fire/EMS Chiefs conference multiple members from Fire Districts made comment that they are not receiving their PPE requests submitted through WEB EOC.  A Chief contacted local County EM and was told that they are awaiting the County DOH to approve. These orders go back.

The big issue is that the 4/9/2020 JIC report shows thousands of PPE received by the State and being pushed out today. If the orders from local departments are not even being seen by the state there is an issue and these departments have, as they put it, "missed the boat." Is DOH at the County level determining what PPE Fire Department are to receive despite their requests?
4/10/20 Complete 4/10/20

After investigating, we have found that there are no current Fire Specific PPE requests in WEBEOC for Collier County. To date there has been PPE allocated to the area and are as follows:

  • Mission # 11775 and Mission #10915 both were considered General Allocations
  • Mission # 08378 was deemed a Public Safety Allocation.

Furthermore, there has been no directive by the state DOH directing the counties DOH to determine what PPE agencies are to receive despite their requests.

In light of the new CDC recommendations issued late yesterday on returning essential employees back to work which have had exposure and are asymptomatic – what adjustments will be made to the joint FPF/FFCA guidance in regards to this?

I have several employees isolated at home now ¾ of the way through their 14 day quarantine period following an exposure to a COVID19 patient.  They remain asymptomatic.  Based on this most recent CDC recommendation these employees are eligible to return to work if they wear a mask at all times and maintain social distancing in the workplace.  Would like to get clarification on this and how it relates to the previous joint FPF/FFCA guidance on firefighters returning to work.
4/9/20 Complete 4/9/20

In consultation with the FPF and the FFCA, there will probably not be any modification to the Joint Guidance on Potential Exposures for the following reasons:

  1. The new CDC recommendations are not aimed at healthcare professionals (HCPs) or fire service personnel.
  2. Similar guidance was issued weeks ago by the CDC for HCPs that work in a facility and the FPF and FFCA have steadfastly opposed its implementation for Fire/EMS personnel.
Looking at purchasing testing kits for COVID19 for our public safety personnel. Before we buy them would either of you know if they are reimbursable via FEMA? 4/8/20 Complete 4/8/20

Per the Recovery Section, the answer is yes, if you meet the eligibility below:

Eligible Assistance
Under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration described above, FEMA may provide assistance for emergency
protective measures including, but not limited to, the following, if not funded by the HHS/CDC or other federal
agency. While some activities listed may be eligible for funding through HHS/CDC, final reimbursement
determinations will be coordinated by HHS and FEMA. FEMA will not duplicate any assistance provided by

Management, control and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety:

Emergency medical care:

  • Non‐deferrable medical treatment of infected persons in a shelter or temporary medical facility
  • Related medical facility services and supplies
  • Temporary medical facilities and/or enhanced medical/hospital capacity (for treatment when existing
    facilities are reasonably forecasted to become overloaded in the near term and cannot accommodate
    the patient load or to quarantine potentially infected persons)
  • Use of specialized medical equipment
  • Medical waste disposal
  • Emergency medical transport
Chiefs are inquiring about the AMTRAK trains coming in from the Tri-State area without screening, can we reach out to the appropriate State organization and check into this? 4/7/20 Complete 4/7/20 Spoke with FDOH and FDOT and advised them of the General Message request. Both agencies push it up to the next level. After receiving information regarding a medical call in Okeechobee County, that information was passed on to both FDOH and FDOT. Both agencies were going to provide the additional information to the next level.
I’m trying to find out if other fire departments are having trouble getting employee test result confirmations from health departments, where the health department conducts the test.

It is my understanding that the Ryan White Act enables them to communicate with our designated official on employee status from COVID tests.
4/6/20 Complete 4/6/20 No fire department has indicated they were having trouble getting employee test result confirmations from the health departments.

In consultation with FDOH, the local health department would have to notify the employer, as part of their investigation, that an employee had tested positive.
In regards to PPE shortages, specifically N95 masks, has there been any recommendation at the state level to use SCBA's in lieu of disposable masks by fire department personnel? If so, are there any proposed guidelines for rapid decontamination of the equipment between calls? 4/6/20 Complete 4/8/20

Your question has prompted FDOH to have a meeting with first responder ESFs here at the State EOC. The Florida Professional Firefighter's liaison has also fielded several inquiries as well regarding your question.

As soon as a "recommendation", "guidance", "best practices", etc, is developed, I will get it back to you.

Joint Guidance from the Florida Fire Chiefs and the Florida Professional Firefighters was distributed throughout both organizations yesterday afternoon, and can be found here: Levels of Respiratory Protection

I would like a definitive interpretation of the order explaining who would be considered essential employees, and does the "Safe at Home" section apply to essential employees i.e (Fire and Law Enforcement). Some people are interpreting the order to include essential employees i.e. Fire and Law Enforcement. As such they are thinking that they should be relieved of duty and sent home for 30 days. I need something to support our position that the language does not apply to Fire, Law Enforcement, or any other essential employees. 4/2/20 Complete 4/2/20 Per DEM legal staff, the State is taking the position they will not interpret each Executive Order. Therefore, each government entity’s legal department or counsel should make the interpretation.

Each legal department will determine how the specific reference in the Executive Order relates to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, v. 2 (March 28, 2020):
Mission #3338 Critically Short on Gowns 4/1/20 Complete 4/1/20 Per ESF-8, gowns are on backorder.

Here is a CDC's guidance for "When No Gowns Are Available":

Some departments around the State are purchasing ponchos and using them as PPE until gowns become available.
Link on FFCA Liaison SEOC Reports to submit requests not working or present.
4/1/20 Complete 4/2/20 Language will be added to the end of the Information Dissemination Report as to how to contact the Fire Service Liaison Officer to submit an information request.
We have been presented with information on testing kits that are available for individuals to complete for themselves. This being the BioMedomics Rapid IgM-IgG Combined Antibody test for Coronavirus kit. This has been introduce to our department as if other departments are starting to use these kits. I haven't found any information online that advises that these kits have been authorize or not. Can the state advise more information for these self-testing kits? 3/31/20 Complete 3/31/20 According to ESF-8, they are aware of 10 manufacturers in the world who have been granted a waiver for the use of this device.  There is no "authorized" manufacturers.   Research is being conducted by Dr. Antevy from Coral Springs on these devices.
Current recommendations are for people 65+ years of age to stay at home. Half of our FF1 force (4 of 8) are 65+. This message is not meant to raise an alarm, only to provide information. We are still going to respond. I am sure there are other departments in the same situation, especially volunteer ones in rural areas. Thanks for what you are doing. 3/31/20 Complete 3/31/20 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-for-ems.html
Guidance at this CDC website applies to all first responders, including law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, and emergency management officials, who anticipate close contact with persons with confirmed or possible COVID-19 in the course of their work.
It appears that housing quarantined first responders who have been exposed to COVID in a hotel can be a 75% reimbursable expense. This would keep them from exposing their family.  

Can we get the State DEM folks who are over the Public Assistance reimbursement to give us guidelines we can distribute to all the fire service in Florida letting them know about this option?
3/31/20 Complete 3/31/20 The FFCA was provided with COVID Non-Congregate Sheltering Guidance and Templates - APPLICATION PACKAGE. You may view/download all documents here:
There is supposed to be a waiver on OSHA requirements for fit-testing related to N95s used for COVID.  Can we track this down in writing to get to our members? 3/31/20 Complete 3/31/20 OHSA N95 Fit Testing Temporary Enforcement Guidance Announcement https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/national/03142020
OSHA N95 Fit Testing Temporary Enforcement Guidance Memo
Can you check the phone number….its not working, (833) seems a little odd. 3/31/20 Complete 3/31/20 I just confirmed with ESF-8 that this is a working number and was verified in my presence.
Heard Governor was going to make COVID-19 a presumptive illness if one of our members contracted the virus. 3/30/20 Complete  3/30/20 We have not heard any such reference to creating an Executive Order to make COVID-19 a presumptive illness. This is not to say that there is not individuals and organizations lobbying for such a presumption.
Seeking information concerning the legality of putting addresses of PUIs or Positive tested patients in a dispatch CAD system to warn Fire Rescue crews and Law Enforcement Officers of the address. No patient information to be disclosed, but that the address is flagged. Would like to know General Council, or whomever is responsible for this determination position on this. There appears to be confusion throughout the State on this issue.

We currently get only information if the PSAP answers provide suspicions of a possible patient. It would help first responders with their attempts to maximize PPE and protect them from possible exposures.
3/28/20 Complete 4/7/2020

Per the DOH General Counsel, this question is under review.  This General Message will stay open until final determination is made. # # # 3/28/2020

 Section 2695 of the RW Extension Act applies to notification procedures between emergency responders and the medical facilities that they deliver patients to. The update below adds COVID-19 to the list that was published by the CDC back in 2011 (HIV was already on the CDC’s list). The notification procedure is outlined at the link below. Public health officers are only part of that process under particular circumstances when requested by the medical facility.


There are also procedures in state law that relate to medical facility notifications to emergency responders (section 395.1025, Florida Statutes and Rule 59A-3.251, Florida Administrative Code). Sections 381.004 and 384.287, Florida Statutes, also allow for disclosure of HIV or other STD results to medical personnel when they believe that significant exposure has occurred during medical services, but there is a process for that as well.

The section 2695 requirements (along with the CDC list and notification process) requires that COVID-19 be treated as a disease that is potentially life-threatening and would set up a notification process should an EMS employee have significant exposure during interaction with a patient. First, there has to be a determination made (by the employer) that such an exposure occurred and then the EMS provider would notify the medical facility and request further information, to include whether the patient that was involved in the significant exposure was tested for those conditions and the results. I do not believe that it authorizes us (nor do state laws) to put together a list of patients with those conditions to provide to EMS providers. # # # 4/7/2020