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First Responders Spotlight: Paramedic/grandmother rises to confront Covid challenges

First Responders Spotlight

CANANDAIGUA, NY (WROC) — Life in the age of coronavirus has meant a shift for all of us. But for paramedics like Julie Smith with the Canandaigua Emergency Squad, it meant taking an already challenging job and taking it further. Smith rose to the occasion. 

“Everything has to be decontaminated to a very high degree,” says Smith.

That means every single piece of equipment, sanitized, no questions asked in between each patient. Washing the inside of the ambulance constantly, and multiple uniform changes and extra showers.

“So that takes a lot more time and a lot more energy. On difficult calls, we’re in N-95 masks, plastic gowns, goggles that fog up…it can be very difficult,” says Smith.

Lt. David Hubble says Smith is a shoe-in for this award, even on a normal workday. “The ability to make people smile on their worst days. That’s one of the most important things you can do as a health care provider,” says Lt. Hubble.

“I see people such as Julie who are putting their families at risk, and going above and beyond,” he says.

Smith is also a grandmother of five. As a Covid precaution, she’s not had a chance to spend much time with them since March. To honor all of her work, Smith received a sweet surprise from our friends at Dunkin’, but she will have to wait to share all the treats. Duty calls.

“I chose this position. Or maybe it chose me. But I love trying to make somebody’s worst day better in some way,” says Smith.

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