The world may be at somewhat of a standstill, but life continues for many, with first responders still busy with calls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What has changed for our paramedics is they’re finding themselves now having to do what we call point of care assessment on all patients,” explains Darren Sandbeck, the chief paramedic with Alberta Health Services.
Upon initial contact, paramedics maintain social distance with a patient.
“The health and safety of our paramedics are paramount.”
If the person can speak, questions will be asked about travel history, if they’ve been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19, or if experiencing symptoms.
This will determine if EMS staff use their personal protective equipment.
“The little bit of extra time they take at the front end of that to ensure that they’re safe protects them and also protects the patient,” Sandbeck explained.
For the Edmonton Police Service, chief Dale McFee says “we’re ready, we’re focused and we continue to evaluate how we take our calls for service on a daily basis.”
“We’ve got an emergency pandemic response command structure set up.”
Officers face unique challenges when responding to calls. Some suspects have even suggested that they have COVID-19 as a way to get police to back down.
“Quite frankly, there’s no time and place for that and we’re going to do our darndest to hold those people accountable,” McFee said.
For those on the front lines, information is key as they respond to calls.
“If people do have to dial 911, we ask them to be as honest as possible with our EMS dispatchers,” Sandbeck said.View link »