(Taney County, Mo.--12/13/17) A local fire department is understaffed and is fighting more than just fires, they are battling, sickness.
Jeff Romines is a Training Officer with the Central Taney County Fire Protection District. He says his volunteer fire department has limited resources and in need of help.
"If we’re down one or two then getting in that structure and getting that fire put out or if we have to make a rescue if somebodies in it, it could mean a life."
Romines says the department is dealing with the double blow of illness among its own personnel.
"We’re going to breathe in that smoke and stuff like that, it’s hard to stay out of it and if you have the respiratory issues going or if you got head and sinus, that just makes it extremely worse."
And a sharp increase in sick calls.
"If we get shorthanded on anything we always have our mutual aid companies and departments around us."
He says some area departments are also suffering from a widespread outbreak of flu and related illnesses that have been sweeping across the Ozarks.
"But they’re having the same issue, they’re going through the sickness just as we are."
Officials say firefighters are using precautionary measures to educate not only their department but the public.
"Use common sense with everything that’s going on. Again we try to tell everybody again to stay hydrated, treat your fever."