March 16, 2020

WATERTOWN, S.D.–With the spread of COVID-19 in South Dakota, Watertown Fire Rescue is taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of our community members and first responders.

Watertown Fire Rescue has implemented additional personal protection protocols for its first responders to help prevent exposure and the spreading of COVID-19 while responding to emergency calls. Additionally, both Station 1 and Station 2 will be temporarily closed to the public and we will be suspending station and engine tours, participation in community events, external training classes, and any non-essential events that could expose firefighters and critical staff to the virus.

We have been working with our public health partners and are closely following COVID-19 and its potential impact on our community and emergency operations. One of our top priorities is to keep our first responders healthy, so we can continue to respond and help those who need us. Equally as important, we want to ensure we take the right precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to our patients and at-risk populations.

Watertown Fire Rescue is joining other area fire departments in adopting measures for emergency response and scaling back from external events. The proactive steps align with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Watertown Fire Rescue recognizes that early containment, through social distancing, vigilant hygiene and isolating those infected by the virus, is the best way we as a community can protect ourselves and protect our most vulnerable populations. That’s why we are taking extra steps to protect our community and to help prevent the rapid spread of the virus locally.