CRAB ORCHARD, WV (WVNS)– Responding to medical emergencies during a pandemic is a risky task. COVID-19 has everyone on high alert. First responders are taking every necessary precaution to prevent the spread of the virus, and it starts inside the ambulance.
Ems workers are on the front lines when it comes to battling illness, and saving lives.
Ryan Bragg, director of business relations for Best Ambulance, said, “We face a lot of different diseases and viruses on a daily basis.”
Ryan Bragg said EMS workers play a vital role in preventing the spread of illness. This means changing gloves after every patient, decontaminating stretchers, and changing linens.
With COVID-19, Bragg said they stepped up daily cleaning procedures. Limiting the use of linens on the stretcher, and decontaminating after every patient contact.
“We completely wet our stretcher down with our disinfectant and sanitizer solution that stays wet for ten minutes and after that our stretcher is considered decontaminated,” said Bragg.
They also use a fogger machine filled with the solution.
“We can completely sanitize an entire ambulance fairly quickly,” he said.
Extra personal protective gear reduces their chances of contracting the virus from a patient.
“N95 respirator masks, or just a regular surgical mask, eye protection… And sometimes our patients will wear a mask also,” said Bragg.
While they received a number of calls from patients with flu-like symptoms, none were specifically related to COVID-19. Bragg said unless symptoms are severe, go to your primary doctor before rushing to the ER.
Bragg said if you call 911 make sure to tell the dispatcher if you have any symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath — or if there is a possibility you came into contact with it.