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CTANG fire department, Security Forces maintain readiness during COVID-19

Connecticut Air National Guard fire department and Security Forces personnel at the Bradley Air National Guard Base fire house in East Granby, Connecticut, April 20, 2020. The base fire department and 103rd Security Forces Squadron continue to operate around the clock to ensure the safety and security of Connecticut Air National Guard personnel and provide support to mutual aid emergency response partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker)

Connecticut Air National Guard fire department and Security Forces personnel at the Bradley Air National Guard Base fire house in East Granby, Connecticut, April 20, 2020. The base fire department and 103rd Security Forces Squadron continue to operate around the clock to ensure the safety and security of Connecticut Air National Guard personnel and provide support to mutual aid emergency response partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker)

EAST GRANBY, Conn. --

Normal routines for Connecticut Air National Guard members have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of Guardsmen are actively supporting response actions around the state and many full-time personnel continue their daily tasks through telework.

A constant in today’s varied environment is the need for security and emergency response at Bradley Air National Guard Base.

Members of the 103rd Security Forces Squadron and base fire department are continuing to provide these capabilities with protective measures in place for their personnel.

“We’re maintaining social distancing between personnel working in places like our base defense operations center,” said Tech. Sgt. Kyle Saunders, 103rd Security Forces Squadron.

The 103rd Airlift Wing has implemented additional base access restrictions to protect its members, and Security Forces has an integral role in supporting this effort.

“We have an entry authorization list printed out for essential personnel coming on base,” said Saunders. “If anyone is not on the list, they can contact BDOC and we will run it up the chain of command to determine if they require access.”

The fire department is also protecting its members while staying ready for emergency response situations on base and at Bradley International Airport and surrounding towns, where the Guard serves as a mutual aid partner to local emergency responders.

“Whether it’s a car accident, medical emergency, or any other situation, you’re assuming there are potential exposure risks with anyone you come into contact with,” said Louis Manfredi, Connecticut Air National Guard firefighter. “So you have to maintain social distancing when possible but still do your job.”

Connecticut Air National Guard first responders are prepared to act in coordination with their local partners if they discover a potential COVID-19 case, said Manfredi.

“If there are symptoms, we’ll call the ambulance and try to maintain minimal contact until they can take over,” said Manfredi. “If there is difficulty breathing or something like that, we’ll take appropriate actions.”

The fire department is minimizing risk exposure at home station from the moment members arrive to when they don masks and gloves and respond to a call.

“Only essential personnel are allowed in the building and we’re constantly cleaning and disinfecting our equipment,” said Manfredi. “Everyone is concerned about their safety and their family’s safety so we’re all on the same page.”

Precautions taken, both organizations remain ready to respond in today’s ever-changing environment.

“I think we just have to adapt and overcome,” said Saunders. “That’s what we do any time we face a problem because we still have to do our job.”

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