By Ray King

During the month of July, Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services personnel responded to 293 medically-related calls, 39 more than in the previous month.

Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell said Friday many of those calls were non-life-threatening and attributed some of them to fears of COVID.

Appearing on the Oldies 101.3 morning show Friday, Howell was asked about the exposure of firefighters to COVID, and if the increasing spread of the disease has affected how firefighters go about their jobs.

In a previous appearance, Howell mentioned there had not been a lot of preplanning on filling department needs, particularly for new fire trucks. He was asked if that had changed.

Howell was also asked how far the city was behind in replacing equipment for the department.