First responders discuss how they are taking coronavirus precautions


SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) -The coronavirus is changing how Americans go about daily life and this change is happening day by day.

That is certainly the case for Middle Tennessee First Responders like Spring Hill Fire Department that are literally coming up with new guidelines to stay one step ahead of the coronavirus.

Today, Fire Chief Terry Hood showed news 2 a table load of new procurements to fight the contagion.

It includes N 95 masks for every firefighter, and various cleansers for hands and equipment, that will also be placed on all fire trucks.

This is a first for the Spring Hill Fire Department.

Chief Hood says, “we are preparing for the corona virus-like we would a house fire or an extrication, we are having to do training.”

The chief says every day his department has met at a high level to discuss various Corona Virus related scenarios.

“what if one of our guys does get into contact, what do we do for our guys? where do we put them?” the chief questions.

“We bought this for the apparatus, so if they go to a call where they feel they need to decon real quick, they can decon the equipment or themselves. this is all new. never put these on the fire trucks before,” he adds.

According to Chief Hood, his department is working hard to stay one step ahead of a contagion that’s got the world on heightened alert.

“absolutely. it appeared one day and now we are dealing with it. and again we have to prepare because we see the public every day.”

One of the changes that are being implemented now involves 911 dispatchers and new questions they ask of a patient who may have the virus.

Chief says, “if someone calls 911. there are certain questions 911 operators will be asking. One question could red flag another question. And when we get to the home, there might be a conversation between the door and the resident before entering, and if we enter it might just be one person entering, unless it is a true critical emergency and that could change everything. Because think about it. Let’s say an engine crew went out today and contacted the coronavirus and we have to quarantine those 3 guys and the next day another engine company goes out. We could end up losing half our staff being quarantined if we are not paying attention, doing our job, or having precautions in place.”

Hood tells News 2 – years ago, before coronavirus – his department prepared for another mysterious contagion, the Ebola virus.

Hood says, “two years ago, Ebola was a big thing, and we did everything we could to be ready to answer an Ebola call. And those kits are now in our lock-up ready for the next outbreak I guess.

When asked if the fire department takes similar precautions for the regular flu, Chief Hood said, no.

In Williamson County, 5 first responders self-isolated after a medical call at the home of a patient with respiratory symptoms.

3 Williamson County firefighters and 2 members of the Williamson County EMS put themselves under a 48-hour quarantine.

The crews did this before returning to the station on Goose Creek Pike where they are located.

Hannah Bleam, the external affairs officer with the Williamson County Emergency Management Agency says,

“based on the patient’s symptoms they decided to self isolate. so the station is fine. there’s still working normally, but these individuals have decided to self-isolate, just based off the symptoms of the patient at the time, and to ensure that other first responders didn’t come into contact with anything that might impact their health.”

Bleam says the crews decided to self isolate after leaving the home and before arriving back at station 24 off Goose Creek.

“They saw some respiratory symptoms from the patient. based off the symptoms they decided to. doesn’t mean anything is confirmed. there’s no diagnosis for this person or the firefighters.” Bleam said.

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