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Lifesaving efforts from Tucson Fire Department paramedics continue during the pandemic

Posted at 4:58 PM, Nov 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 00:16:39-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Lifesaving efforts continue for paramedics at the Tucson Fire Department during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As we see cases rise again throughout Arizona, one Tucson paramedic explained to KGUN9 that the virus has been here since the beginning of the year, and now firefighters and EMTs know some practices that work to slow the spread.

Returning from medical calls at Station #14 you'll find Anthony D'Onofrio, an eight-year veteran paramedic for TFD.

“It’s fun. You get to help people. It’s that next level of responsibility, I suppose,” he said.

But when the pandemic hit — it was more than just being the first on the scene to render aid, it was taking a few more steps to stop the spread while doing it.

“It was a big change. We went from wearing just glasses and gloves on calls to wearing Tyvek suits, glasses, and particular masks,” he explained.

It’s also going the extra mile to make sure the ambulance and even the fire station is disinfected.

“We don't necessarily know that they're COVID. It's just based on what the caller tells the dispatcher. We have to assume a lot of the time. So , if it's somebody with a nuanced set of difficulty breathing automatically in our mind — okay, it's COVID. We won't find out till much later, whether or not it really is,” he explained.

D’Onofrio is looking forward to the day he had his family can safely reunite with his mother.

“I miss her cooking, that's for sure. I know my kids miss her. That's probably, you know, the family get-togethers," he said.

The eight-year veteran wants to remind the Tucson community to be conscious of the things they are doing and avoid large gatherings.