The Santa Rosa Fire Department has created a new Pandemic Response Unit to respond to patients suspected of having COVID-19 or that are experiencing flu-like symptoms within the city.
The department says the new squad, which had its first shift Tuesday, was established in an effort to minimize department and community exposure to the virus.
The Pandemic Response Unit vehicle, “SQUAD 1,” is equipped with specialized personal protective equipment and advanced life support gear and is staffed by one paramedic and one emergency medical technician (EMT) from the fire department. The department says this unit is one of the first of its kind in California.
(Image: Santa Rosa firefighters wear blue in honor of Detective Marylou Armer who died from COVID-19 / Credit Santa Rosa Fire Department Twitter).
“This is a proactive and innovative method to reduce exposure to the coronavirus and limit the possibility of a widespread infection within our community, our Department, and the families of our staff," Santa Rosa Fire Chief Tony Gossner said.
Fire personnel that are a part of the response unit will wear additional personal protective equipment, minimize contact with potentially infected patients and will decontaminate before leaving the location of any emergency call, the department says.
The unit is available 24/7 and will operate indefinitely.
To learn more, watch a community update video from Chief Gossner in English or Spanish, or listen to KRCB’s Adia White speaking with Deputy Fire Chief Scott Westrope about how many calls the team has responded to so far.