Reservist, civilian fire chief responds to COVID-19 crisis
By Master Sgt. Grady Epperly, 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 16, 2020
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- At the beginning of 2020, it was unclear how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic would become. During these uncertain times, first responders voluntarily work in harm's way in order to help others.
One of these volunteers is Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Brigan, 507th Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, who in addition to serving his community as a Reservist serves on the frontlines of the pandemic as Deputy Fire Chief with the Village Fire Department.
“Although I am not a firefighter in the Reserve, there are a lot of skills that cross over,” said Brigan. “First of course is the ability to work as a team with my fellow firefighters and Airmen. Both my Reserve career and my fire career require familiarity with personal protective equipment and staying physically fit is essential.”
The Village, part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area with a population of approximately 10,000 residents, has had 60 confirmed cases and counting.
Deputy Chief Brigan commands 20 paramedic firefighters who respond to COVID-19 calls.
“When the Village Fire Department responds to a potential case of any highly communicable disease we don our PPE along with respiratory protection,” said Brigan. “We trust our gear and wear it appropriately while following the recommendations from the Oklahoma Department of Health and Medical Control Board to keep us safe,” he said.
The Village Fire Department has received and responded to as many as seven COVID-19 calls in one day. This is in addition to responding to fires, first aid calls and search and rescue situations.
“We are very proud of Senior Master Sgt. Brigan for the support he provides to his community as a first responder,” said Col. Karwin Weaver, 507th Maintenance Group commander. “He brings his leadership skills here as a first sergeant and we are better as a group for it.”
With the global pandemic of COVID-19 evolving worldwide, first responders like Brigan are ready to meet the crisis head on in order to ensure mission success and to provide support to the local community.