November 28, 2020
“Oh how things have changed… we heard it was coming but we just weren't sure what to expect.”
Andrew Breitbel, Luetenient and Paramedic for Scarborough Fire Department recalled the progression of coronavirus from March to present day saying, “When it hit and we went into lockdown, our department immediately worked to determine how we could continue to serve our community while staying safe. There was a lot of anxiety, but we got through it.” Lt. is proud of his crew, and mentioned Paramedic and Firefighter Jason Goldman, who has been on the ambulance answering calls and interacting with the public.
Goldman and his wife welcomed their second daughter into the world amidst the pandemic and remembered the constant risk of potential exposure to his family. “You always know there’s a risk,” he said, “but you do your best. There is a lot more information now and protection protocols in place to keep us safe to mitigate the risk of spread and exposure. Education is key to be prepared.”
Trying to keep up with the changes posed one of the biggest challenges. Every shift the department had their heads on a swivel as it seemed like the CDC or Maine EMS put out new protocols and they worked hard to try and keep up. “Covid fatigue is a real thing,” said Goldman. “It wears on you. Keeping fresh, staying sharp and looking at the big picture is what we needed to do. I got into the fire service 10 years ago, and there's a lot of stuff they don’t teach you, like coping with a pandemic and the psychological aspects that come with it.”
Social and emotional stresses have been eased as the crew has come together to support one another. “We’re trying to be strong for the public,” said Breitbeil, “while supporting each other. Checking in with each other has grown exponentially and I hope we can continue that when ‘normal’ returns. The community support has humbled us, and motivated us. We had a 10 year old young lady bring in her 25 pound bag of Halloween candy - the good stuff too. She was so happy to do that for us, and we felt so appreciated by her gesture.”
Both Goldman and Breitbeil are looking forward to their children being able to socialize with their friends and enjoy being carefree children again. Professionally, they both agree it will be nice to get back to their more in depth training, and enjoy the simple pleasure of being able to congregate around the station kitchen table.
Thank you Andrew and Jason, for being the #HeartAndSoulOfTheCommunity.