Daily operations at Grand Junction Fire Department are looking a little different these days. Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics are wearing surgical masks on every medical call. This is intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
In the early days of the outbreak, GJFD began implementing the pandemic flu plan which included extra cleaning, and using protective equipment when patients were identified as having they symptoms of COVID-19. However, in the weeks since Mesa County got the first confirmed cased, things have ramped up to protect crews, patients, families, and our partners at local hospitals and assisted living facilities. All hands have been on deck listening, watching, and making note of the ever-changing best practices while managing critical supplies of protective equipment.
Last week GJFD issued their first stable standard operating guidelines to cope with COVID-19. The new policy outlines actions around the station to reduce possible contamination including: maintaining social distancing in the living areas of the fire house, keeping bedroom doors closed at all times, wearing clean clothes in the station and changing to uniforms for calls, not taking uniforms home, not allowing visitors at the stations, and having only one crew member conduct grocery shopping.
When responding to calls, crews are to wear long pants, long sleeves, and boots that are not allowed to enter the living quarters of the fire station. Patient compartments in the ambulances have been sealed off from the driver compartment with replaceable barriers. Additionally, in ambulances all mounted equipment is now covered with protective plastic to enhance cleanliness.
When responding, crews are now wearing surgical masks on all patient contact calls. When it is possible, crews are limiting the number of personnel in direct contact with the patient while still providing quality care. Family riders are also being limited when able to reduce virus transmission. For patients displaying flu-like symptoms, masks are placed on the patient and providers are wearing additional protective equipment including gowns and eye protection. Thorough decontamination of the ambulance after every patient is conducted, and protective barriers and equipment are replaced.
All GJFD employees are closely monitoring themselves for flu-like symptoms and rigid stay at home guidelines are in place to protect the workplace. Grand Junction Fire Department appreciates your help in complying with the stay at home order and calling your doctor or the Mesa County Public Health Hotline at (970)683-2300 for flu-like symptoms. We are putting all of these precautions in place so that we are ready to respond when you need us.
For more information contact the Community Outreach Office at GJFirePIO@gjcity.org or by phone at (970)697-8587.