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Buchanan county EMS workers taking extra precautions amid COVID-19

Now when responding to a scene, EMS workers are gearing up in full PPE for every call.

Posted: Apr 3, 2020 6:34 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2020 3:45 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Emergency first responders put themselves in harms way everyday, even in times of a health crisis.

“We have interacted with individuals within this community that were being investigated for COVID,” said Wallace Patrick, director of Buchanan county EMS. 

During these unprecedented times, Buchanan county EMS responders are taking extra precautions. 
Now when responding to a scene, EMS workers are gearing up in full PPE for every call. 

“You will see members of Buchanan county EMS out there in various levels of PPE, personal protective equipment, and some of it gets to the point where it almost looks like they’re spacemen because they have full hoods on. If you see these individuals interacting with your neighbors or with other people, do not automatically assume that person has COVID,” said Patrick. 

While the full suit can look scary to onlookers, EMS workers said it's just a matter of safety. 

“Since we interact with everybody for everything, we have to make sure that we err on the side of caution. We want to protect our staff and we also want to protect the other people we’re interacting with, the next patient,”said Patrick.

EMS responders can't work from home unlike much of the public, so to stay safe, they're using higher levels of cleaning. 

“We’re utilizing extraordinary measures with UV lights, extra cleaning of the equipment, extra cleaning of the ambulances to protect the citizens of Buchanan county and our staff because we still have to come to work everyday,”said Patrick.

While the UV light looks like a bug zapper, it's actually a virus zapper. The UV light kills bacteria and virus's in a matter of seven minutes.

Buchanan county EMS workers purchased this UV light ahead of flu season, but said they're grateful they got ahead of the game for the coronavirus pandemic. 

Emergency first responders use this UV light after every call they go on. 

With a battery life of 9,000 hours, Buchanan county EMS are on the list for at least one more UV light. 

While EMS workers are out saving lives, they ask that the public does their part by practicing social distancing and staying home. 

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We have had rain off and on this Friday afternoon across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. Scattered showers will continue off and on through the evening and overnight hours. A few showers could linger through the day Saturday but the rain will be lighter than today and much more scattered. Temperatures will slowly start to warm Sunday into Monday as sunshine returns and conditions start to dry out. Another cold front is headed our way Monday night and that will bring us a chance for rain and possibly some snow into Tuesday morning as the colder air surges into our area. Temperatures look to stay unseasonably cool through the rest of the next week.
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