“Honesty with emergency personnel is essential. No one will be turned away.”
First responders face danger, deception on possible COVID-19 calls
Mar 21, 2020
Union Leader – New Hampshire first responders are running into people lying about their flu-like symptoms for fear they won’t receive treatment, though police and fire departments have adopted new protocols to reduce their exposure to COVID-19.
Emergency personnel want the public to know that despite what they might have heard, EMTs, paramedics and firefighters will treat them and police officers will protect them even if they are symptomatic. Hospitals will receive them, too.
Fire departments in Salem and Londonderry are seeing cases of residents lying during the screening process that helps first responders determine what kind of protective gear they need to wear while responding.
“It’s getting increasingly difficult to screen or prescreen the calls,” said Salem Assistant Chief Jeff Emanuelson.
He said the department has two of five ambulances specially equipped with firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who have personal protective equipment at their disposal.
Now, even if a caller doesn’t report symptoms, the fire department is sending one of these just in case.
“When in doubt, we’re sending one of those two ambulances,” Emanuelson said.
If they aren’t symptomatic, another regular ambulance will transport the patient.
The issue is coming up in Londonderry, too, according to police Capt. Patrick Cheetham.
“The fire department will always treat them,” Cheetham said. “Honesty with emergency personnel is essential. No one will be turned away.”
He said it’s important that residents requesting emergency treatment report their symptoms honestly so that responding personnel can take the necessary precautions and continue treating other residents.
If first responders are found to be exposed to a suspected case of COVID-19, they likely will have to be quarantined temporarily, as will anyone they came into contact with afterward.
Departments are being careful with their use of protective equipment so they don’t run out … Read more.