LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — With the governor’s order to close all child care centers, many first responders are desperately searching for people to watch their kids.
Lexington’s Fraternal Order of Police and Lexington Professional Firefighters are asking the governor to allow some centers to stay open for them, just as he’s allowing for healthcare professionals.
First responders can’t work from home. These jobs require someone 24-7.
Lt. Jonathan Bastian says without child care, we could face a public safety issue.
“Obviously you need someone to answer calls when someone calls 911. You need dispatchers to dispatch those calls to fire trucks and police officers. You need fire trucks and police cars to respond to calls,” says Lt. Bastian, president of Lexington’s Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge #4.
“This adds another mental stressor to the difficulty of responding on a day to day basis. Obviously, the normal responses that we make haven’t stopped but we’ve added all these different pieces now related to the COVID virus,” says Kevin Pletzke, president of the Lexington Professional Firefighters Local 526.
Added pieces like disinfecting appropriately, wearing more equipment, and also trying to keep themselves from getting sick.
“Even though we’re public safety and even though we’re in the healthcare field we’re still susceptible to contracting that virus,” says Battalion Chief Jordan Saas with LFD.
And if they get sick that just means someone has to fill their spot, which could create staffing issues.
Lt. Bastian says officers are having to pool their resources together to find child care, ooking to retired officers, civilian employees.. just anyone that can help out.
“We have not received any sort of update and obviously we’re getting close to the barrier here,” says Bastian.
Pletze says his wife is an ER nurse and his shift is 24 hours at a time.
“She actually works the night tour 7 pm to 7 am so that becomes problematic for us because we start at 7 so there’s a little bit of overlap there that’s tough,” says Pletzke.
Saas’ wife is also a nurse and they’ve struggled to plan.
“Me and my wife have decided to come up with several different plans, plan ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘c’, maybe even a ‘d'”, says Saas.
But he says he knows he isn’t alone in this – anyone with a job and children has to do the same right now.
“It’s important that we just band together because our resolve is going to make up our strength,” says Saas.