Fire chief discusses new protocols, equipment for first responders

Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles County Fire Department

The Los Angeles County Fire Department has enacted new procedures and given out new equipment to its personnel in order to keep them and public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a social media live stream video, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said Fire Department personnel had completed new COVID-19 response training, and learned the new criteria for assessing patients.

They’ve also been given equipment such as gloves, masks, goggles and gowns in order to protect them from exposure, Osby said.

“In addition to that, when you dial 9-1-1, our dispatchers have been trained to ask additional questions to relay that information to our first responders en route,” said Osby on Thursday.

Osby added that first responders will be given priority over the public as it pertains to testing due to the hazards of their jobs, and will have their temperatures and vitals checked before and during each shift on the job.

The Fire Department is also unveiling a new program that will allow them to teleconference with a medical practitioner in order to help a COVID-19 patient experiencing mild symptoms while on the scene, Osby said.

Answering a question about whether a patient has a choice in which hospital they’re taken to depending on their health care network, Osby said the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency does allow patient destination requests.

However, firefighters, paramedics and lifeguards must follow specific criteria, taking into account how busy the hospital the patient wishes to go to and how extreme their symptoms are.

“However, I want to re-emphasize to our citizens that when you dial 9-1-1, it has to be a medical emergency,” said Osby.

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