Firefighters at Fire Station 6 near Orlando Executive Airport are dealing with the red scourge: bed bugs.
The Fire Department is taking aggressive action to keep the pests out of other stations and even homes.
The first thing to do with a bed bug infestation is to throw away mattresses, which the Fire Department has done.
The first thing to do is– what?!?
Judging from the photo at WFTV’s site, it looks like they tossed out all their mattresses. However, “throwing away mattresses” is not what bed bug experts usually tell us is the first step. In most cases of bed bugs, we’re told, it isn’t necessary to throw out any furniture. And doing so can simply spread the problem to others (who invariably pick up the items), without eliminating it from the fire station.
It’s also not clear what visual evidence was found, but the article claims, “the pests had taken over the dorm, even biting at least one firefighter.”
The others would have no way of knowing if they were bitten or not; for this reason, suspected bed bug bites aren’t considered a reliable indicator of whether bed bugs are present.
The article notes,
Firefighters have been given the option to sleep in their personal vehicles until officials are absolutely certain the bed bugs are gone, and that isn’t easy.
Again, this goes against the standard advice. Sleeping in cars may mean the firefighters infest their vehicles.
The same article notes also that
Firefighters use their own bedsheets during shifts.
Curtailing this practice may mean bed bugs are less likely to be transmitted to or from homes in future.
According to WFTV,
Since firefighters often go from station to station, the city is now checking for bugs at its 16 other stations and telling its personnel to check for bugs at home.
This is good.
It’s also noted new mattresses will be delivered Monday, but it’s not clear on whether the fire station is also getting professional treatment for bed bugs.
I’m sure there’s more to this story. Let’s hope the firefighters get some good help so these hard-working first responders can get a good night’s sleep.