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B.C. firefighters wearing extra gear to respond to possible COVID-19 calls

Click to play video 'How B.C. first responders are dealing with COVID-19 on the front lines' How B.C. first responders are dealing with COVID-19 on the front lines
No one is more at risk from COVID-19 than B.C.'s first responders, who are changing the way they do their jobs to protect themselves. Linda Aylesworth reports – Mar 23, 2020

Port Moody Fire Rescue is just one of many emergency response teams taking no chances with possible COVID-19 medical calls.

When a distress call comes in from someone with flu-like symptoms, firefighters go through a new procedure.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. municipalities closing community centres and other civic facilities

“Once on scene, we go through a unique and detailed triage process where one of our staff members dons level one medical PPE,” Fire Chief Ron Coulson said, referrring to personal protective equipment.

This includes an N95 mask, gloves, and goggles.

“We make a two-meter assessment of that individual, then determine … if a higher level [of PPE] is required at that point.”
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Level two includes an impervious gown and a face shield, which some people have found a bit off-putting.

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Langley firefighters in isolation after possible coronavirus exposure – Mar 17, 2020

“It is daunting when we have level two medical PPE on,” said Coulson. “But in these circumstances, we have to err on the side of caution.”

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In an effort to ease public anxiety, the City of Port Moody is producing a video about its new protective gear — just one of many things it helps to know if we are to succeed in containing COVID-19.

“The challenge before us is in education,” Coulson said. “We have to get the message to those who may not want to listen to it yet.”