We first heard last October that Cincinnati firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel were having trouble with bed bugs. By all accounts, things have only gotten worse in the last eleven months.
Brian Hamrick of WLWT News 5 in Cincinnati reported yesterday that firefighters in Cincinnati are battling the red menace — bed bugs — in their firehouses. And they’re picking them up when they’re called out on jobs.
So many firehouses have now had bed bugs that the firefighters’ union met with city council members to try and find a solution.
“We’ve got 26 fire houses we’re chasing them from, as soon as one house seems under control another house pops up,” Firefighters Union President Marc Monahan said.
One station on Glenway discarded a sofa marked “Do not take, bed bugs.” A firefighter told reporters he had so many bed bug bites, he could not draw a circle the size of a quarter on his skin without hitting one.
The city health department suggests the firefighters should wear Tyvek suits:
Before now, firefighters never even considered bed bugs to be a hazard of their job, but now the health department said that the firefighters Tyvex suits should be worn and disposed of after every run.
“I would advise them to put it in a plastic bag and dispose of it. That is what it’s going to take to get this under control,” Health Department Dr. Mohammad Alam said.
When every minute counts, it’s not very practical for firefighters to have to don an additional layer of secure clothing before going out on a job. If they don’t wear it on top of every other item of clothing, I don’t see how it would protect them anyway. And are Tyvek suits flammable?!?
The only way for firefighters to keep from getting bed bugs is to make sure everyone gets rid of their bed bug infestations. There is a Cincinnati/Hamilton County Joint Bed Bug Task Force Strategic Plan in the works, which we hope will be making things better in the area soon. New York vs. Bed Bugs will be discussing it soonish.
And don’t assume this isn’t also happening in your town.