KCFD crews will wear masks, gowns on medical calls

Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 19:41:49-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When it comes to coronavirus, the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department won’t take any chances on medical calls.

"One of the bigger things we’ve learned and pushed out to our employees is kind of taking that initial moment to stop at the door and really have one person make contact," said Fire Chief Donna Maize.

One responder will wear a mask, gown and eye protectors when they enter a home. After assessing the situation, the responder might also have the rest of the crew put on protective gear before entering the home.

"The first thing to protect our responders is to ensure we mask up a patient with any flu-like symptoms or respiratory illness so we’re cognizant of that,” Maize said. “It’s the first line of defense.”

Each of their ambulances are sprayed down with a hydrogen peroxide fogger, a better tool than the normal UV light sanitizer because it gets into every crack.

Dispatchers also are asking callers if they have any symptoms, if they have traveled out of the country or been in contact with anyone who has.

Sometimes calls come in for another symptom or another ailment the caller has, and when KCFD gets to the home, they realize the person might also have those flu-like symptoms.

Overall, Maize said, they do not see that it's having a serious, wide impact on the metro at this time.

"We’ve had a few cases that, based on answers to the questions, we initially suspected it may be related to coronavirus,” Maize said, “but so far we’ve been fortunate that once we get on scene we really get an in-depth question, it becomes apparent it’s very low-risk.”

Maize said those patients were tested at hospitals, and the tests have come back negative.