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City 911 operators ask the community to wear masks when first responders arrive

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Posted at 2:22 PM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 01:04:29-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Answering Tucson's calls for help sounds different during the pandemic.

Operators are making sure first responders and the community is protected by asking those calling 911 to mask up.

“We do that now as part of our 911 call processing. Just in order to protect both our community members and our first responders,” said Geoff Kuhn, 911 administrator.

In January alone, City of Tucson 911 operators have taken more than 1,050 COVID-19 related calls and since March they’ve taken well over 6,400.

Geoff Kuhn, 9-1-1 administrator for the city, said asking about infectious diseases has been protocol for years but early last summer is when asking about COVID-19 kicked into gear.

“We’ve been pivoting as those guidelines have changed, particularly early in the COVID-19,” said Kuhn.

He said operators are asking questions and are aware of positive test results in homes as part of one of Governor Ducey's executive orders.

“We track those and we do everything we can to inform our first responders of potential in any particular household,” said Kuhn.

911 operators ask for Tucson's help in following their request to mask up.

“We ask the community to help us with that if they don't have a mask. Our first responders still have the personal protective equipment that they need to provide the same service, regardless of masks, or not,” said Kuhn.