As with all first responders across the nation, the Fermilab Fire Department stands ready to act should they be called upon to help with a COVID-19 incident in the areas surrounding the suburban Illinois laboratory.
“We are ready to support not only the lab but our neighbors as well,” said Fermilab Chief Safety Officer Amber Kenney.
The Fire Department at the Department of Energy’s Fermilab works with district fire departments in the two counties that the lab straddles, DuPage and Kane, responding to emergencies when requested or automatically dispatching firefighters to deal with an incident according to interdepartment agreements.
“We work hand-in-hand with other towns and other groups,” said Fermilab Fire Chief Chuck Kuhn. “It works both ways. They help us, and we help them.”
The Fermilab Fire Department responds routinely to incidents in the local area.
“The mutual aid is a big deal. Our Fire Department has excellent relationships with all the surrounding communities,” Kenney said. “When we’ve had a need, having those relationships has been huge. Chuck and his team do a great job maintaining them.”
At any time, six Fermilab firefighters are on shift — and on site, following the laboratory’s distancing rules.
They will also be ready should a COVID-19-related incident take place on laboratory grounds.
“Our Fire Department is focused staying educated on all the COVID-19-related guidance, which is frequently being updated. They are plugged in, as they must be as first responders,” Kenney said. “In the coronavirus case, because there are so many unknowns, their knowledge has been helpful for the lab, too.”
Kuhn says it’s an honor to be able to help the lab community and surrounding areas.
“We all hope that coronavirus incidents are few in number. We hope for the health of our friends and neighbors that there will be no cases to respond to. But we have to be prepared,” Kuhn said. “Every member of our team is prepared. We’re always ready to serve.”
Fermilab operations are supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science.
Fermilab is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit science.energy.gov.