BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Every day first responders put their lives on the line, but even more so in the battle against COVID-19.
This week, paramedics and EMTs responded to a call at a Long Beach home with multiple potential COVID-19 patients. While these type of calls can be risky and challenging, American Medical Response(AMR) takes multiple precautions to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Paramedics and EMTs must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) from head to toe when responding to COVID-19 calls.
“You have the mask, booties, face shield, and gowns in responding to a potential COVID patient or a COVID positive patient." said AMR Deputy Chief of Operations Charles Wise.
The process of putting personal protective equipment on takes extra time, but the process is necessary.
“So, this does take a few extra minutes to get ready in regards to whether it’s an emergency call or non-emergency call for patients potentially with COVID," said Wise. “Or that are positive with COVID.”
Once the ambulance returns to the operations base, a fogger is used to decontaminate the ambulance. All of this is a lengthy process, and can double the amount of time it takes to respond to a call.
But, it’s a process that’s necessary for many paramedics.
“Our main priority is to keep our employees safe," said AMR Chief of Operations James Carver. “And that’s why we put these precautions in place, with the PPE and stuff to make sure they stay safe. Can’t really help anybody, got to take care of ourselves before we take care of somebody else.”
And that desire to help others is what keeps first responders going, even in the face of danger.
“We all know somebody who has died because of the COVID," said Carver “It is scary and it rests heavy in the back of your mind when you have to think about that kind of stuff.”
AMR says they respond to COVID-19 calls at least once or multiple times a day.