BRYAN, TX — Since the start of the pandemic, the Bryan Firefighter Association has been communicating with the City of Bryan covering all efforts to ensure the safety of firefighters during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We started seeing our first responders in other states deal with these issues. We started bringing those questions back here. What’s going to happen? What is our proactive approach to these things, and what do we need to do to get ahead of this before we find ourselves in the mud trying to dig out?” said Daniel Buford, President of the Bryan Firefighters Association.
But one big question was being ignored by the City of Bryan.
“What are we going to do if one of us gets sick?” asked Buford.
Earlier this month, Buford took this question to a city council meeting, citing Texas Government Code 607 which states a public safety employee who is exposed to a contagious disease is entitled to reimbursement.
“There is a section in 607 [Texas Government Code 607.054] that outlines respiratory illnesses and SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory illness. It’s in the name SARS,” said Buford.
The City of Bryan issued a statement saying in part, “Texas law does not state that COVID-19 is automatically presumed to have been contracted on the job…but if the Texas legislature changes state law to include COVID-19 in the list of illnesses the city will comply with the law.”
“Sessions not even in right now. So for them to come back you’re going to have to have a session in order again, you’re going to have to have people lobbying from both sides,” said Buford.
As of today, there has not been a positive case of COVID-19 among Bryan firefighters.
Buford says he is fighting to make sure that Bryan firefighters and their families will not have to worry if someone gets sick, as they continue to serve the community during the pandemic.