GATES, N.Y. (WROC) — They’re some of the most essential workers. And now more than ever, they have to do everything possible to stay safe.
COVID-19 has made a significant impact on the workflow of one local volunteer EMS station.
“It was kind of like a storm you saw coming,” said Jennifer Everett, Captain at the Gates Volunteer Ambulance Service, “and then all the sudden it was here.”
Changes come most apparently in the form of increased protective equipment. N-95 masks are now specially washed by a local doctor.
“When we would normally throw [a mask] out, what we are doing is putting it in a container, then we will make arrangements to get them safely to the doctor, and she will return them to us sanitized,” said Everett.
On high-risk, flu-suspected calls, EMTs wear N-95 masks. They wear surgical masks for routine medical calls, and place a surgical mask on the patient for all medical calls, said Everett.
The first thing crews do, Everett says, is heavily sanitize the ambulance before and after leaving the garage. The vehicle has been outfitted with a plexiglass cover to separate the driver from the first responders in the back.
EMTs in Gates have also seen plenty of donations from the community: homemade masks and baked goods.
“You have to take care of the people when they call 9-1-1,” said Everett. “We have found a way to do it as safely as possible.”