Day in the life at the Laredo Fire Department

The fire department’s motto is “ready for duty,” and from what we’ve seen during this pandemic, they are certainly are.
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 11:01 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - As we reported on Tuesday, the Laredo Fire Department has implemented new protocols to effectively tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

These men and women double as paramedics, EMT’s, and registered nurses, working 24 hour shifts to keep the community safe.

“There have been instances where it’s nonstop, from the time you come in at eight until two or three in the afternoon," said EMS Supervisor Erik Segura.

He has been with the fire department for 25 years. Seeing shootings, stabbings, fires... things that can really take a toll on a person, but the father of two says it’s worth it when a patient pulls through.

“When you’re able to help a critical patient, to try to stabilize them and get them to the hospital and then you find out that the patient is doing well, that they were able to fully recover from whatever it is they were involved in ... it’s very, very rewarding,” Segura said.

His day starts at 8 in the morning and ends 24 hours later. First, he checks the equipment and reviews reports. Then he drops off supplies at the various fire stations.

Of course, he assists with emergency calls. Some are COVID-related, and others are not.

“There are times where we get called unrelated to COVID. And guess what? We show up, and they’re COVID positive," Segura said. "A lot of people are afraid that if they disclose that information, they’re not going to get treated or transported.”

Whether a patient has the virus or not, responding to a call is their first priority.

The department even dedicated ambulances and a call center to COVID-only calls.

“We transfer the (COVID) patient, but after that we have to decontaminate the unit before we go to another patient. That way we don’t cross-contaminate another patient… so that’s taking that unit out of service for one and a half to two hours,” he said.

Response times have increased as well.

“(The pandemic) has affected everybody’s life. Our response (times) have been affected," Segura said. "Unfortunately, there is a delay in responses because the guys need to wear their PPE.”

But at the end of the day, Segura loves what he does.

“You have to love it. It’s one of those things where there is a lot of stress. Calls, the management of an incident. You keep that with you even on your days off,” he said.

The fire department’s motto is “ready for duty," and from what we’ve seen during this pandemic, they certainly are.

You can find Tuesday’s story on the fire department’s COVID operations here.

Copyright 2020 KGNS. All rights reserved.

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