As the first days of 2021 continue on, more members of the Columbia-Richland Fire Department have taken advantage of their opportunities to get a COVID-19 vaccine. CRFD personnel have been making appointments to receive their first vaccine doses at medical facilities across the Midlands.
For many firefighters the reason to get the vaccine is simple.
“It’s our job to protect the public and if we don’t who will?” said CRFD Assistant Chief of Administration Mickey Folsom, who received his first dose of the vaccine on January 4.
That same day Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins was among the first members of CRFD to get the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Since then staff members in several branches of the department have been scheduling their own appointments.
“We serve the public every day that we come to work. I’m a captain of CRFD, I’m an EMT as well so we’re directly interacting with people who are sick,” said Fire Captain Lorenzo Spell, “I have young children at home. I have an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old so one thing is I don’t want to bring anything home to my children…I don’t want to bring anything home to my wife.”
“I have chosen to get the COVID 19 vaccination for two reasons. The first is for the safety of my family. I have two children with health conditions whom the disease could critically harm, and I want to do everything I can to prevent that from happening,” said Assistant Fire Chief of Operations Christopher Kip, “The second reason is that the members of our fire department must remain operational. It is important that we stay healthy, not only for the wellness of our fellow firefighters but also to uphold our duty to the community we serve.”
As firefighters who respond to medical calls, CRFD members met DHEC qualifications to be counted in the first groups to receive a COVID vaccine. All firefighters received word on January 1 that they would begin receiving instructions on how to make a vaccination appointment. Staff members who have since received their first doses have also made follow-up appointments to receive their required second doses of the vaccine.
CRFD encourages all community members to take advantage of their opportunities to receive a COVID vaccine as doses become more widely available.
“It’s here for our good,” said Fire Chief Jenkins after receiving his first dose, “It’s here for everyone’s good. Don’t be afraid to get the vaccine.”