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First Responders Adapt In An Age Of COVID-19

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Sunday, September 13, 2020 - 8:31pm
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 1:04pm

Phoenix nursing home fire
Phoenix Fire Department
Firefighters respond to a fire at a nursing home near SR 51 and Bell Road in Phoenix.

On Sept. 10, the Phoenix Fire Department responded to a fire at a nursing home. Crews evacuated 27 residents. But with COVID-19 being so rampant at long term care facilities, how do first responders stay safe? 

Captain Scott Douglas is the department’s public information officer. PPE is standard these day — mask, eye protection and gloves. So is an extra set of clothing.

"Say we go on a call where it's a suspected COVID positive patient," he said. "When we come back from the call, we have an extra set of clothing outside in the bay, so we don't bring that into the station."

Douglas says crews are becoming more comfortable working in a situation where COVID-19 might be present. He attributes that to knowing what needs to be done in order to stay safe as possible.

"So that means our gloves, our masks, our eye protection, the things that are going to help keep us safe — as well as the fact that we interact with a lot of people on a daily basis. So if for some reason we were to get something, we wouldn't want to pass that on to anybody in a nursing home."

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