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How TFD protects their own from infection on emergency calls

Posted at 10:58 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 01:58:58-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Dr. Kelly Reynolds from the University of Arizona's College of Public Health said her researchers gave TFD paramedics and fire fighters one simple metric for prepping to treat any patient.

"Assuming that every patient you call upon could be infected with COVID-19 so you need to take those extra precautions."

There's something you can do to help make that process easier but first what the folks on the front lines are doing.

"One of the things we noticed is that, they weren't always necessarily putting on their full personal protective equipment, and right now we recommended that."

Reynolds said medics are being encouraged to wear the whole get up when they're responding to a call of a person who could be infected.

"A gown on and gloves, gloves being very important if you're responding to a patient that could be contagious and also goggles and a face mask."

Reynolds and her researchers said treating the patient in an open area was also recommended for first responders.

The risk of infection is lowered when they're not a small contained room.

So what can you do to help make a medic's job easier? The answer, Reynolds said: be completely forthright.

"When you're calling for an ambulance you need to really be as detailed as possible in terms of could you be infected with something that could put them or other patients that would be transported in the same vehicle, at risk."

The idea, Reynolds said, is to lower the risk of our folks on the front lines from becoming infected, keeping more of them on the clock and taking emergency calls.

"It's easy for us to sit back in a laboratory and say 'this is what you should be doing,' but we need to work collaboratively with the first responders so they can tell us 'this is what's practical in the field.'"