“The first is Tyvek suit. This is our first layer.”
As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Northwest, Bend Fire and Rescue EMTs are gearing up for a possible outbreak in Central Oregon.
The agency has ordered hundreds of Tyvek suits for first responders to use on house calls.
“We did upstock in early January, kind of anticipating that if this got out of China we’d need a whole lot more than we had in reserve,” said Petar Hossick, EMS Training Captain.
Responders haven’t had to suit up yet, but they’re ready to. Today first responders trained on how to put them on and take them off quickly and safely.
“The next layer is boot covers going on.”
911 people will ask questions to callers about symptoms and if they’ve traveled to countries where coronavirus has spread. The caller’s answers will help first responders decide if they need to suit up.
“If you’ve been to those places and you have a fever and you have a cough, we’re putting on PPE to deal with those people,” Hossick said.
The suits will help protect those who are first in line to responding to sick people.
“Goggles are helpful for eye protection.”
Caution is a good thing for those in health profession – especially after twelve firefighters and police officers in Kirkland Washington were quarantined this past week after being exposed to COVID-19.
If that were to happen in Bend, there wouldn’t be enough first responders to answer house calls.
“Losing that many people really cuts down our workforce,” Hossick said. “Part of our goal here at Bend Fire is number one protect our employees and number two is preservation of workforce, so we can get through this no matter how long it lasts, we have enough people that aren’t getting tired who can respond to medical calls.”