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Chicago's First Responders Working With Department Of Public Health On New Pandemic Practices

CHICAGO (CBS)-- While many are staying home to stay safe, first responders cannot.

Chicago's police and fire departments are both working closely with the city's Department of Public Health to create new practices during the COVID-19 outbreak.

New social distancing rules are going into effect at roll calls. Officers and fire crews are both being taught how to safely interact with people while out patrolling or answering emergency calls.

The fire department said all CFD ambulances are equipped with personal protective equipment.

And over 12,000 kits equipped with masks, gloves and sanitizer wipes have been dropped off at police districts across the city.

But some officers tell CBS 2 not everyone has gotten access to them.

With half a dozen members of CPD now confirmed to be infected, the interim Supt. Charlie Beck explained how exposure concerns are being addressed. The Chicago Police Department has distributed more than 12,000 PPE kits to the districts over the past week, along with more than 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.

Five Chicago firefighters have also tested positive for COVID-19.

They are also working with public health officials to combat the coronavirus. Fire Commissioner Richard Ford II said the Fire Department also is providing training to all personnel on how to respond to emergency calls when there is a chance that disease transmission is possible.

"We not only protect ourselves when we use our equipment properly, but we protect our families and the public as well," he said.

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