Firefighters and first responders are used to being on the front line of defense in an emergency. This dedication holds true, even as the country find itself in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. Firefighters don’t just run into burning buildings. These first responders enter homes to provide emergency care and transport people to the hospital—even while everyone else is practicing social distancing. 

Several western Mass fire departments are asking for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for their staff, as those supplies are now scarce. West Springfield Deputy Fire Chief Steve Manchino spoke with Carolee McGrath about the challenges his department is facing and what they need to properly respond to the pandemic.