BALTIMORE — They continue to answer the call, whether it's fighting crime, fighting fires or fighting to save your life, and Mayor Jack Young couldn't be more proud of them.
“Those who are essential---they’re coming to work, and that’s a good sign for us," said Young. " They’re not calling in sick, and if any of them have symptoms of the virus, we have places for them to go and be safe.”
Now, in addition to setting aside hotel rooms for them to help protect their families, Young also announce the COVID-19 Pandemic Mission Critical Stipend, which will put $200 extra in the paychecks of police officers, firefighters and EMS technicians on a bi-weekly basis beginning in Monday.
Efforts are also underway to try to secure additional protective equipment for the first responders as supplies get stretched thin.
Local leaders say citizens can support them as well by adhering to social distancing practices and by reporting minor crimes online or by telephone to reduce exposure and to allow those on the front lines to focus on those who need it the most.
“We have, many times, teetered on… not everyone, but certain instances… people teetering on use to misuse of the 911 system," said Baltimore Fire Chief Niles Ford. "The 911 system is for emergency calls.”
Calls, which the city's emergency responders are answering at their own peril.
Other city employees deemed ‘mission critical’ will also receive $100 in their bi-weekly checks.