An Open Letter to the Community Served by Hebron Fire Protection District
In the following weeks and months our community will face a challenge that is not only new, but constantly changing. I want to reassure our community members that the men and women of Hebron Fire Protection District are working tirelessly to protect you and keep our community safe. I want to address our response to COVID-19 and what you can do to aid us in our service to this community.
First and foremost, our team of highly trained professionals is committed to you, our customers and more importantly, our community. We will continue to respond to all calls for service in our disciplines of fire, emergency medical services, rescue, hazmat releases, and technical rescue. In addition to the continuation of these services, we will be taking extra precautions to prevent disease transmission to/from staff and among the community. We have suspended non-essential community engagement activities, and will continue to do so until recommendations allow them to resume. Some of these activities include station visits, public education events, fire inspections, car seat installations, CPR/AED/First Aid training classes, and community event appearances. Additionally, we have suspended EMT and Paramedic student clinicals through our agency. This decision was made to prevent exposure to these students and to extend our supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). We have also cancelled Fire District Board meetings per Executive Order 2020-215 (https://governor.ky.gov/attachments/20200312_Memo_Board-Teleconferencing-Covid19.pdf).
The department has implemented our COVID-19 Response Standard Operating Guideline. This document provides a uniform approach for our staff to follow in response to calls for service and decontamination procedures. In accordance with the document, all responses to calls for service will require screening questions prior to our personnel entering a residence or space, or making close physical contact. When our staff suspect a patient or situation has met the requirements of possible exposure risk, they will don appropriate personal protective equipment to protect themselves, other staff members, and future patients from exposure.
We respond to all fire alarms as if we will be met with fire on arrival, and we will respond to any COVID-19 associated signs and symptoms as if the underlying virus is present. It is extremely important to have your understanding and cooperation in this process to prevent our staff from becoming inadvertently exposed resulting in time off work due to illness or quarantine. Although we are well equipped as a regional leader in EMS and hazardous materials response, we do have a finite number of staff resources that could be quickly diminished if exposed.
Any suspected/possible COVID-19 call for service will be completed with all equipment, including the ambulance, being thoroughly decontaminated. Additionally, those providing patient care will properly dispose of personal protective equipment, wash their uniforms and shower. We are taking the health and safety of our personnel and our community very seriously. I ask that you help us keep you safe by following current recommendations by public health officials. This information is dynamic and we ask you to stay current by visiting nkyhealth.org (Northern Kentucky Health Department), kycovid19.ky.gov (KY Health and Family Services COVID-19 webpage), and www.cdc.gov. All of these web resources provide good information for our daily lives during this time. We would like to specifically call attention to the downloads and resources page from the Northern Kentucky Health Department here: https://nkyhealth.org/individual-or-family/health-alerts/coronavirus/downloads-and-resources/. If you are confused about when to seek care, please view this flyer: https://nkyhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/KDPH-COVID-19-Health-Tips-3.10.2020.pdf.
If you have an emergency requiring the response of our units there are a few things you can do to help our staff.
- Inform the dispatcher answering your 9-1-1 call if you (or anyone in your household) have symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
- Secure any pets in your home, turn on a porch light to help us locate you, and meet us at the door if possible.
- Answer our screening questions at the door honestly and if you are not sure please tell us. We must know if the patient or anyone in the home/business has had a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or could have potentially been exposed.
Please know we will continue to treat each and every patient with the care and respect they deserve and need. We will continue to treat possible COVID-19 patients with the same level of care provided to other patients. We understand that a patient could be both contagious with COVID-19 while experiencing another medical emergency. Our commitment to you is the continuation of services and care regardless of your potential exposure to COVID-19. We look forward to serving you and working through these challenging times together. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.
Fire Chief & Critical Care Paramedic,
Hebron Fire Protection District