BULLHEAD CITY — The topic of employee protection against COVID-19 came up during the Bullhead City Fire District Board meeting on Tuesday morning.

Board members expressed concerns after finding out about a local long-term care facility with cases of COVID-19. The Mohave County Department of Public Health reported on Monday that there were 14 new confirmed cases and two deaths in the Bullhead City area and that some of those cases were among people at the care facility.

Fire Department personnel will be using caution when going on calls to long-term care facilities, such as wearing N95 respirator masks that provide a higher level of protection against the virus for all trips to such locations, said Fire Chief Patrick Moore.

The name of the facility wasn’t said during the board meeting but Moore said afterward that the location was known to the fire district. It later was identified as Joshua Springs Senior Living by its owner, Watermark Retirement Communities.

Having information about such outbreaks as soon as possible plays a crucial role in preparing a response because “we don’t want anybody to get sick and take the virus home to their families and into the community,” Moore also said.

Knowledge about such situations also allows the department to prepare its response and transport of high-risk COVID-19 patients.

The department has significantly modified its operations and practices because of the pandemic but the potential risk of infection can vary. 

Managing risk and resources is necessary, however. Having adequate information about the people who require their assistance helps the department do both more effectively, Moore added.

Budget for 2020-21

The fire department’s spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year retains the $3.15 tax rate.

It includes step raises for all eligible employees and a 2% cost-of-living adjustment to the department’s pay scale.

Board members approved purchase of two staff trucks and one van from money allocated in this budget cycle.

The nearly $16.4 million budget includes a contingency of $800,000 and about $908,000 in grants. Expenses are projected to be less than $14.7 million.

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