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First responders protecting themselves from sickness

We're seeing a rough flu season this year with several local people losing their lives to the virus.
  
Paramedics are often the first ones to come in contact with patients who call 9-1-1 with flu-like symptoms.

How they stay safe and protect their other patients.
"For EMS crews, every second counts and when they get a call for flu-like symptoms | they take extra precautions"

Treating sick patients and getting them to the hospital quickly is always top priority for first responders. During flu season, they have to be extra careful.

Bill Hopkins - Paramedic
"Even though the community at large is really focused on H1N1 in the flu, there are still plenty of other viruses we have to mitigate against every single day" 10

Dispatchers usually go through a list of questions to learn whether the patient on the other end has flu-like symptoms.

That information is passed on to paramedics so they can guard against spreading the virus.

After a patient is dropped off at the hospital, it takes crews 10 to 15 minutes to clean the ambulance and their equipment.

They use disinfectant sprays and germicidal wipes strong enough to kill most bacteria and the H1N1 virus.

"Wiping it down, cleaning the sheets, taking the disinfectant and cleaning the rails, and then out in the ambulance, all the equipment that we use whether its the cardiac monitor, the blood pressure cuff, even where we sat down and the walls, that's all wiped down"

The county typically orders extra wipes, gowns, masks and other equipment to meet the demand to help safe guard first responders against the flu virus.

Kavontae Smalls
"Remember January and February is the peak flu season so people are encouraged to wash their hands to prevent spreading the virus.

You can find more information about the flu and other medical issues, just click here.