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Treasure Coast first responders prepared for coronavirus

Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 09, 2020

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — In St. Lucie County, fire officials have just canceled all of their station open houses until further notice because of the coronavirus.

“When you have something like this come along, the same thing we did for H1N1 and Ebola, we take additional precautions and develop an incident action plan," said Capt. Richard Hall with St. Lucie Fire Rescue.

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Hall says his EMTs have N95 masks and gowns that they can put on for protection.

“The gown is an additional precaution because (health experts say) the virus can live on skin and clothes for up to nine days, so you wouldn’t want to take that back to the station or back home with you," added Hall.

If Fire Rescue transports someone they believe may have been infected with the coronavirus, they have a way to disinfect and decontaminate the truck. They have a device called the AeroClave that sprays a mist throughout the vehicle.

In Martin County, Bureau Chief of Rescue Chris Kammel with Martin County Fire Rescue says their dispatchers have been asking enhanced questions of 911 callers for several weeks.

“Anybody with flu-like symptoms, a fever, or upper respiratory infection signs, we began asking them more questions whether they had traveled outside of U.S. within last 14 days," said Bureau Chief Chris Kammel.

Kammel says as first responders this is what they do, deal with people who are sick and injured. This time, there’s a new factor.

“It is not stop. It’s constant communication between us, the FDOH, the CDC,” said Kammel.

All first responders stress you can do your part by following the guidelines from state and federal health officials to keep the virus from spreading.