Coronavirus: 'Don't be alarmed by staff wearing masks' – emergency services

TVNZ

News conference involving the Prime Minister and Ashley Bloomfield confirm New Zealand’s first coronavirus death.

Emergency services sending staff out in protective gear to restrict the spread of coronavirus say people should not be alarmed by covered up workers.

As the country moves into its second week of lockdown emergency agencies are continuing to operate as essential services but are taking additional measures to keep their staff and the public safe.

Frontline paramedics, fire crews and police have been issued personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, safety glasses, gloves and gowns.

Emergency services say people shouldn't be alarmed by the sight of paramedics, police and firefighters wearing protective gear as they do their bit to stop the spread of coronavirus. (Pictured) Wellington Free Ambulance staff in personal protective equipment.
WELLINGTON FREE AMBULANCE/SUPPLIED

Emergency services say people shouldn’t be alarmed by the sight of paramedics, police and firefighters wearing protective gear as they do their bit to stop the spread of coronavirus. (Pictured) Wellington Free Ambulance staff in personal protective equipment.

Wellington Free Ambulance chief executive Mike Grant said the precautions were to minimise risk of spreading the virus.

“Please don’t be alarmed if you see our paramedic crews wearing [PPE]. This is to minimise risk and ensure infection control.”

The police were following Ministry of Health advice to ensure their practices were up to date.
ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

The police were following Ministry of Health advice to ensure their practices were up to date.

Other measures included decontaminating ambulances across the service’s stations.

He said the service was prioritising its resources for emergencies and anyone feeling unwell or experiencing flu-like symptoms were encouraged to contact Healthline.

Fire and Emergency National Commander Kerry Gregory also said people should not be alarmed if they saw firefighters wearing protective equipment.

Fire and Emergency said they were committed to serving the public throughout the coronavirus emergency.
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Fire and Emergency said they were committed to serving the public throughout the coronavirus emergency.

“Maintaining adequate staffing is a priority for us, and we have plans in place to ensure we can respond across New Zealand in the case of a pandemic.

“We have put in place additional measures to ensure we maintain our operational and response capability and minimise any risk for our people and the people they serve.”

Only critical staff were able to access stations, he said. Gregory asked people requesting assistance to ensure they identified whether anyone in their household was self-isolating or a coronavirus patient.

Mark Johnston, Life Flight Trust chief executive, says extra precautions taken by emergency services have been put in place to protect crews, their families and the public.
Supplied

Mark Johnston, Life Flight Trust chief executive, says extra precautions taken by emergency services have been put in place to protect crews, their families and the public.

A police spokeswoman said officers also had access to PPE and like other agencies, had strict hygiene procedures, as well as support networks for any staff with questions or concerns.

The police were following Ministry of Health advice to ensure their practices were up to date.

Life Flight Trust chief executive Mark Johnston said flight crews and on-board medical doctors were provided with PPE. The emergency air service only had essential crews at its Wellington Airport base with support staff now working from home.

Emergency Services have introduced strict decontamination procedures for their vehicles following use.
Kevin Stent

Emergency Services have introduced strict decontamination procedures for their vehicles following use.

Decontamination of aircraft was increasing their time on the ground but was critical in allowing the charity to safely maintain the service.

National ambulance service St John was also approached for comment.

Stuff

Source: Coronavirus: ‘Don’t be alarmed by staff wearing masks’ – emergency services

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