Behind the Badge: Protecting CSFD and their families through this pandemic

Behind the Badge

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Fire Department is trained to respond at a moment’s notice. However, the current COVID-19 crisis is a problem that’s taking longer than expected.

“Most of our major events are condense, fast pace, events we mitigate and move on,” Lt. Don Watkins with CSFD said.

In response Lt. Watkins was moved to the department’s medical division to help limit exposure within the department.

“This isn’t going to be done tomorrow, next week, next month and that’s been department-wide where we hear an alarm go off and we want to fix the problem right then and be done with it,” Lt. Watkins said.

Lt. Watkins has been with CSFD for 22 years. Right now, his primary role is to facilitate testing, monitor contact, and bring awareness to the current crisis.

His every day duties change so he can help protect his team

“I was moved from a 24-hour to staff position,” Lt. Watkins said. “Assisting with all things COVID-19.”

It’s a new role he’s taking on to help combat a new type of threat and his desire to go above and beyond the badge is not going unnoticed.

“He changed his entire schedule around and for us that’s the type of flexibility and the type of person he is,” Captain Mike Smaldino with CSFD said. j

Lt. Watkins is a third generation firefighter, so protecting his team is more than just a job.

“These people are folks I’ve watched come up from the ranks or been on while I’ve gone on, a big part is keeping them healthy but more so their families,” Lt. Watkins said. “It’ be a huge impact to all of us knowing we brought something back to our families.”

It’s because to Lt. Watkins CSFD’s badge means the world to him.

“To me, it’s about the trust this community has in this badge, they don’t know me personally, but I know parents will trust their parents with me because of this badge,” Lt. Watkins said. “I draw pride from that trust.”

If you would like to nominate a first responder to be featured on Behind the Badge, nominate them here.

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