Life in EMS during a pandemic
April 1, 2020 | Category: News
We want to take this time to thank you for your concern for our wellbeing during this pandemic. We have had so many people reach out and ask how they can help. Quite frankly, it’s pretty simple! The most important thing you can do is to follow the CDC guidelines on a daily basis which includes staying at home and maintaining social distancing.
For First Responders, this is what we are trained to do every day, but there are some very distinct changes to our operations during a pandemic with Federal shutdowns:
- The way in which we enter a home or facility is different, if we enter at all. In certain scenarios the person we need to treat may need to be brought outside by an occupant to protect the crew from being infected by other members of the household; limiting exposure and getting them in a more open-air environment.
- We will go through more personal protective equipment as every “first-in” crew member will don the necessary gear on all calls until the situation is assessed and then the assistant may need to suit up as well. This is why we have put the call out for donated items such as N-95 masks, Clorox/Lysol wipes, goggles, etc. In Lehigh County, these types of items are being collected on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and may be dropped off at our facility at 4300 Broadway, Allentown, Pa 18104.
- It means that the supervisors and managers need to be checking on the mental well being of our crews more frequently because they are seeing more overdoses, suicides, and domestic abuse calls due to the stressful situations people are being faced with, which ultimately takes a toll on our providers.
- The normal 12-hour shift may turn into even longer ones due to a nationwide shortage of EMTs and Paramedics. Unfortunately, that may also mean that their family time may be limited because of long shifts. Or, they may be separated from their loved ones for an extended period to ensure they don’t bring the virus home to those that may have weakened immune systems or elderly family members that are more susceptible to becoming ill.
- It means our front line crews may not be able to get to a bathroom as frequently as they’d like or they may not be able to grab that desperately needed meal to replenish their body because they are doing their best to keep up with the call volume. This is why we can’t thank our restaurant and business community enough for the donation of individually wrapped, grab-and-go food items that have been sent to us during this current pandemic. It is greatly appreciated and makes it a lot easier for our crews to try to enjoy some nourishment throughout the day.
We pride ourselves as being the leader in emergency medical services, transportation and community health resources in the Lehigh Valley region and beyond. We know that in times like these it is not easy to operate a for-profit business, let alone a nonprofit business such as ours. Our model is really like no other industry. Our community expects us to be ready to respond, and respond quickly should the need arise. Yet, we are not funded to the extent that other community services such as Fire and Police are. This is where we need your help! We ask that you consider becoming a subscriber; attend our gala or golf event or become a sponsor or donate an item to be auctioned; send a few dollars in during our annual appeal, or any time of the year for that matter; or, consider taking one of our education classes which are available to the public where you can become CPR certified or learn how to do basic First-Aid, etc.
We want to be there for you when you need us most. Check out this video to see just exactly what we mean by that. Please consider supporting us in any way you can during these difficult times.
Please stay well, wash your hands; cover your sneezes and coughs … and #StayHomeForUs!
Larry Wiersch, CEO