Providence Fire Dept. dedicates rescue unit to coronavirus related calls
On Wednesday, Providence's Fire Department announced it's dedicating one of its rescue units exclusively to coronavirus related calls.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – On Wednesday, Providence’s Fire Department announced it’s dedicating one of its rescue units exclusively to coronavirus related calls.
Several of the city’s first responders volunteered to be a part of the coronavirus rescue squad, but as part of the team, they have to keep their distance from the rest of the department.
The department’s deputy assistant chief hopes this will prevent the spread of the virus among the city’s firefighters and EMTs.
“We only have a certain number of people. If we lose a lot of people then obviously we can’t perform to the standards that protect the rest of the community,” said Zachariah Kenyon, the Deputy Assistant Chief of Providence EMS and Fire.
The coronavirus rescue team will respond to calls involving flu-like symptoms. But the city’s public safety commissioner only wants you to call 911 for severe emergencies, not if you’re just feeling under the weather.
“There are calls we’re just not responding to because it’s not necessary that we put our police officers, or firefighters, or EMS in those situations,” said Commissioner Steven Pare´.
Dept. Asst. Chief Kenyon said the best thing to do if you’re feeling slightly sick is to call your doctor and self-quarantine.
“If you’re just slightly ill stay home. That’s the best policy,” said Kenyon.
Coronavirus related calls require the city’s stockpile of masks, gloves, and goggles, which are in short supply nationwide.
“It’s a problem. We just got some masks from the state. That helps alleviate a little bit of the problem but we don’t know how long that supply will last or how long this pandemic will last,” said Kenyon.
Commissioner Pare´ said the city should get additional personal protective equipment soon.
“We won’t go into a home unless we’re properly equipped,” said Pare´.
However, he said in life ore death situations they will respond no matter what.