First responders worried about COVID 19 as supplies become hard to get

First responders worried about COVID 19 as supplies become hard to get
WatchContracting the virus from patients is the main concern for first responders but another is replenishing masks, gloves and disinfectants required to clean their life-saving equipment.  

Most fire trucks have all the necessary life-saving equipment onboard along with supplies like gloves, masks and disinfectants to clean it all. However, trying to reorder any of these supplies is becoming a real problem for some departments.

“No ETA on supplies so we’re kind of hoarding what we have right now,” said Dashwood Fire Chief Nick Acciavatti. “We have enough to get us through for the next several months depending on use.”

If there’s an increase in coronavirus-related calls, his department has to respond to supplies could run out much sooner.

“If we can’t get supplies and we can’t protect our firefighters to go help the citizens, we’re in a real tough spot so if world supply keeps dwindling and supplies don’t match demand, then a lot of fire departments I would think across the province will face this issue,” said Acciavatti.

Paramedics are likely to be exposed to patients with coronavirus and they are concerned about it.

“Oh yeah, that would be one of the worst-case scenarios and the reality is we’re no different than any other health care or front line workers except we’re in a less-controlled environment being out in the public and on the street, so that risk is a little higher than some other scenarios,” said Troy Clifford, president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC CUPE Local 873.

The union met with Health Minister Adrian Dix Thursday to ensure it’s getting all the necessary and updated information from health officials.

“And that was reiterated by the minister’s office and minister Dix today that they’re going to do everything they can to make sure that the front lines and all health care workers are supported,” added Clifford.

The RCMP says changes to date have been minimal adding in a statement: “Our members deal with exposure to bodily fluids and other hazards regularly, so our training and procedures have always focused on reducing those risks.”

On Thursday afternoon, the Dashwood Fire Department announced it would be keeping the front door of its fire station at 230 Hobbs Rd locked during business hours. People are asked to call and email if they have any questions.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!