Frontline family battling more than just flames

Local News

FARMERSVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — A family of firefighters/paramedics has been on the frontlines even before the coronavirus pandemic started.

A passion for serving others runs deep in the Erisman bloodline.

Farmersville Fire Chief Jeff Erisman has been fighting fires for nearly 40 years. His brother-in-law served as chief before him, his daughter and daughter-in-law are paramedics, and his son is a captain.

“Quite a family affair,” smiles Chief Erisman.

The chief is leading his family and his crew through a critical time.

“I don’t think we thought it was going to be as big as it was. The fact is it’s real. It’s here,” warns Chief Erisman.

Already risking their lives on the daily, the coronavirus has added another risk. For the family tree of frontliners, social distancing isn’t really an option.

“Our social distancing kind of involves the whole family because we’re all together so much,” say Erisman.

The chief recognizes the danger and the possible domino effect if one of them is exposed to the virus, which is why they’re taking extra precautions.

In addition to their typical fire gear, PPE is now just as important for the crew but also harder to come by.

“When we order, it’ll be back-ordered,” says Chief Erisman. “I just got some face shields in last week that I’d ordered early on in March.”

In terms of their current PPE supply, they are stocked. They’ve also added extra training to their regimen.

“There for a few months, we had to go to online training because we couldn’t meet here as a whole department,” says the chief.

The pandemic has created a layer of challenges, but one his crew and family are capable of facing.

“All of my people that are here, my kids and all my other rest of my staff, they are [heroes], and they’re awesome, and they’ve really stepped up and taken everything serious,” smiles Chief Erisman.

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