(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.