Area EMS departments making changes to protect staff and public from coronavirus spread

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The Buffalo Fire Department responds to several thousand EMS calls every single year and that’s why they’re taking special precautions as the threat of the coronavirus looms.

Department officials say new orders have been issued to all the firehouses when dispatched to patients that meet the criteria of the flu or coronavirus.

“When we get to the residence, we will meet them at the door, orders are for us to try to make contact either through the door or check through a window, either verbal or visual,” said Captain Ron Barrett Buffalo Fire Department. “We want the patient to come to us, we don’t want to go through the residence if we don’t have to. If the resident is feeling really sick and they can’t make it to the front door with their own power, we will force entry and go look for the resident ourselves.”

The department has special instructions for folks who are symptomatic of the flu or coronavirus. When they arrive they will provide a mask and ask patients to wear it.

“This is something new for the virus, usually as a rule we will go in and make the contact, but we don’t want to expose our guys and ladies to more than what we have to,” said Barrett

At the Kenmore Village Fire Department, they’ve been stepping up precautionary measures as well. They keep a bottle of hand sanitizer masks and other items in the Rescue 7 Truck.

“Really, on any EMS, call we always have gloves, protective gloves that we wear,” said Kenneth Butkowski of the Kenmore Village Fire Department. “We have masks that we wear ourselves and that we can put on patients as well. it’s to protect us and to protect them.”

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