PANAMA CITY, Fla. — On Friday morning, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal, Jimmy Patronis, briefed local first responders on Coronavirus and the threat it poses to the Sunshine State.
“Every single news broadcast on a local or national level or on the internet is talking about the Coronavirus,” said Patronis.
Over a dozen local first responders all gathered at Gulf Coast State College to exchange best practices when it comes to preparation on handling a situation like this locally. With over 75 thousand cases worldwide, Coronavirus is causing a panic across the globe, creating a challenge for tourism-heavy states like Florida.
“Just the airline industry alone is already going to see, up to date, a thirty billion dollar loss in revenue,” said Patronis.
Currently there are 30 cases of Coronavirus in the United States. Zero cases have been reported in Florida.
As the hysteria spreads, Patronis is making sure first responders are as prepared as possible in case the virus makes it to Florida, protecting emergency personnel and residents.
“Your EMS, fire, and law enforcement agencies including the hospitals are prepared for things like this,” said Panama City Beach’s Fire Chief, Larry Couch. “That’s what we do. We plan ahead.”
Planning ahead was the main idea of the roundtable; ensuring everyone has what they need at both a local and state level and to keep residents and vistors safe.
“I think it’s important that we’re doing the necessary awareness information sharing, to ensure, if something does happen, heaven forbid it doesn’t happen, that we’re prepared,” said Patronis.