First Responders Highlight Methods to Protect Themselves, the Public
EXETER — Seacoast Chief Fire Officers Mutual Aid District is issuing a video briefing on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response strategies their departments are following to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus to their staff and the public.
“Ensuring the continued health of our staff is critical, and if we do experience an increased number of medical calls due to this pandemic, we have prepared by putting a series of preventative procedures in place to preserve the health of our staff and the public,” said Seacoast Chief Fire Officers Mutual Aid District President and Epping Fire Chief Don DeAngelis.
Dispatchers have already begun asking those calling for medical assistance if they are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, including fever, difficulty breathing or a cough. When first responders arrive to a call involving an individual who may have the virus, they are additionally practicing social distancing when possible and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) including goggles, masks, gloves and gowns. Patients who have the virus will also be given a mask to prevent others from contracting the virus.
Additionally, ambulances are being disinfected with an electrostatic fog machine between each use to reduce risk of exposure to both first responders and patients.
According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear within 2-14 days of exposure. The DPH reports that symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and pneumonia in severe cases.
Local, state and federal health officials are also encouraging residents to take the following precautions to prevent infectious diseases, such as the flu and COVID-19, from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- When sick yourself, stay home to protect others and practice social distancing.
- Always cover your cough or sneeze.
Anyone who is experiencing a fever and respiratory illness and is concerned they have either come into contact with the virus or traveled to an affected country within the last 14 days is advised to contact their primary health care provider.
For more information, visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.