Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who is also the state fire marshal, announced the creation of the nation’s first statewide voluntary registry to help combat the spread of COVID-19 among first responders.
The N.C. Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), which sits under the Department of Insurance, partnered with RTI International to create a survey on the OSFM website to allow fire departments, emergency service workers and other first responders to report positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines. The goal is to provide real-time data for state leaders to understand how the virus is affecting first responders and what resources are needed to keep them safe.
“Throughout the pandemic, our first responders have risked their own health and safety to protect our communities and it’s our duty to protect them,” Causey explained. “This new technology will allow me and other state leaders to see firsthand the health issues of our first responders so we have the data necessary to get them the needed help.”
Current projections show increases of illness and death among first responders and members of the fire service due to the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
The International Association of Firefighters has created a nationwide COVID-19 tracking tool on its website, but the OSFM registry is strictly focused on the statewide needs of North Carolina’s first responders. Once that information is gathered, Causey will use it to request increases in coverage for presumptive cases of both COVID-19 and cancers.
These reports from fire departments are critical to strengthen Commissioner Causey’s requests to Gov. Roy Cooper and state legislators to undergird the need for additional support for first responders and the state’s fire departments.
The OSFM is also planning to launch a cancer registry to show how various types of cancer are affecting first responders and provide quantitative data to push for additional coverages and presumptive legislation.
For more information or questions about the voluntary COVID-19 registry, please contact our Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org