Confronting the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland fire departments have stepped-up the frequency of disinfecting ambulances in order to keep patients and emergency medical responders safe.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service said that specialized decontamination units have been established outside each hospital in the county.
“These are teams of two firefighters that are specially trained. They will have the equipment necessary, and the appropriate disinfectant … to clean each and every unit,” Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said.
He said that all transports to the hospital will get decontaminated upon arrival in an effort to lessen turnaround times, “our back-in-service times.”
According to procedure, when a patient is taken to any of six hospitals in Montgomery County, the transport vehicle is decontaminated by a special team, while the ambulance crew is inside the hospital completing the patient transfer.
In Prince George’s County, each patient transport vehicle operated by County Fire and EMS is carrying decontamination equipment.
While Prince George’s County has not deployed decontamination units to hospital grounds, it has equipped each ambulance with necessary disinfectants.
“We have decontamination equipment in every, single one of our patient transport vehicles,” County Fire and EMS spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said.
The department conducts decontamination operations at each fire station, as well.
“We also have decontamination equipment at every, single one of our fire stations, and that process involves our providers putting on a hazmat suit,” Donelan said.
In previous weeks, ambulances were decontaminated after carrying a patient suspected of having the virus that causes COVID-19.
“We’re doing this on all calls now; we’re doing this decontamination process after every, single patient transport,” said Donelan. “This keeps our first responders safe and this keeps our patients safe.”
Quick peak from #PGFD #FRONTLINE: Decon of a patient transport vehicle as well as hard surfaces within fire stations using electric sprayer w/a bleach solution. Crews also have pump sprayers they use in the field when they need to decon ambulance. Helps maximize in-service times pic.twitter.com/E5Se8K2kNG
— Prince George’s County Fire and EMS (@PGFDNews) April 11, 2020
- Every 15 seconds: Outbreak overwhelms NYC’s emergency system
- How are local first responders handling calls that could involve coronavirus?
- Md. fire marshal: Uptick in kitchen fires, concerns about safety layout in stores during pandemic