EMS, firefighters take extra precautions when responding to possible coronavirus exposure

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Emergency responders are taking extra precautions on calls after some in the department were unknowingly exposed to coronavirus on the job.

New Rochelle firefighters and EMS are now doing doorway triages.

Before they go in the home when responding to a call, they ask the family a series of questions. They ask if anyone in the home has flu-like symptoms or fever, if anyone is under quarantine, or if anyone has gotten the coronavirus.

If anyone in the home answers yes to those questions, the firefighters and EMS will then put on protective gear.

Firefighters just put on a mask because their turn-out gear already protects them. EMS responders, however, will put on entire suit that covers them head to toe.

The reason for the extra precautions is because five days ago, some emergency responders who were answering a call went inside a home without knowing that the family was under quarantine, therefore exposing the emergency responders.

"We are still going to go in and do what we have to do, but we’re going to put on a level of protection to make sure we don't exposed,” says New Rochelle Fire Chief Andrew Sandor. “They're going to put on what’s called PPE, Personal Protective Envelope of different components. The EMS folks have their components. The fire folks, we have our components."

Once they return from a call where there was an exposure, firefighters and EMS responders will be hosed down to decontaminate their equipment.

One thing first responders are asking families to help which they know is hard during an emergency, is when calling 911 to let them know there is a risk of exposure at the home so that they can prepare before they arrive at the home.

As for the crew that was exposed, Sandor says they were tested and the results came back negative.

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