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La Crosse firemen plan strategy for working through virus outbreak



La Crosse’s fire chief wants to be sure his staff is healthy to respond to emergencies, whether those situations are related to the coronavirus or not. 

Chief Ken Gilliam said local emergency responders are preparing for a big jump in 911 calls.

“What if we start getting, you know, from 20 to 100 to 1,000 911 calls a day, because people start getting sick?” Gilliam said Thursday on WIZM’s La Crosse Talk. “I’m hopeful that it doesn’t get to that type of level.”

The chief added that La Crosse firefighters are already trying to keep some distance between themselves. 

One strategy for that is to set up temporary fire stations at locations such as the La Crosse Center.  

Gilliam said the usual types of emergencies are still happening, and they could be complicated if callers, and firemen, have symptoms of the virus.

He added that 80 percent of the calls received by the fire department are emergencies where EMTs are sent out to help.  

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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