Emergency medical services (EMS) play a vital role in responding to requests for assistance, triaging patients, and providing emergency medical treatment and transport for ill persons. However, unlike patient care in the controlled environment of a healthcare facility, care, and transports by EMS present unique challenges because of the current nature and setting of the coronavirus disease. First responders are faced with a new challenge of operating in the unknown environment during preparation, treatment, and transport of potential patients of this new disease.
A frequent need for rapid medical-related decision-making, interventions with limited information, and a varying range of patient stability with coronavirus disease are posing distinct challenges for emergency first responders.
Preparation for and response to patients with confirmed or possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is requiring coordination and communications challenges in the current environment. These challenges are important to mitigate during the current crisis and include a wide array of aspects. Among these challenges are multiple issues from the initial point of contact, 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), commonly known as 911 call centers, to patient drop off and decontamination of apparatus ad personnel. When COVID-19 is suspected in a patient needing emergency care, the challenges posed to pre-hospital care providers and first responders are extremely important. Proper care should be taken in advance from every aspect of preparation, response, patient care, transport, delivery and decontamination of personnel and equipment for all patients who may have COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 is the latest threat to the public and our firefighters of Connecticut. The Connecticut Fire Academy has worked closely with a team of State Fire Service Leaders, State Department of Public Health Professionals and the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to ensure we have best practices to distribute to those fire departments with Emergency Responders on the front lines, in order to minimize exposure and the transmission of this virus as the pandemic develops.
Below is a collection of web resources that provide helpful information for first responders. These resources are located on the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control website and will continue to be updated as needed.