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Florence firefighters see slight uptick in possible coronavirus calls

Officials see a slight increase in possible coronavirus calls and medical facility transportation.

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 5:35 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2020 9:39 PM

Florence firefighters said in recent weeks they are seeing a slight uptick in possible coronavirus calls they're responding to.

Florence's Deputy Fire Chief Tim Anerton described the pandemic as a roller coaster for his staff. Sometimes they will get a lot of calls about people displaying coronavirus symptoms but on the other hand calls have gone down across the board because people might still be weary about going to the hospital.

Firefighters go on medical calls with paramedics and EMTS. Shoals Ambulance said in the months of April and May the overall call volume was down 30%.

Now it's only about 5% below average, but the ambulance service said it's doing more medical facility transports like taking a patient from a nursing home to a hospital.

"There was a period of time when we had a lot of COVID calls or covid suspicious calls. That tapered off a bit, but in the last couple of weeks we've seen an uptick again," said Anerton.

When firefighters get a possible coronavirus call they dress in plastic gowns, gloves, masks, goggles, and glove sleeves.

"The guys have their PPEs and using their judgement on what the event type is as to what level of PPE they are dressing out in," said Anerton.

Anerton said Lauderdale County Emergency Management has helped them keep supplies of PPEs stocked. Anerton said EMA officials deserve a big thanks for helping keep his guys safe, overall the virus is having an impact on all first responders and leaders in the field.

"The stress is enough already and this has compounded that quite a bit," said Anerton.

Anerton said his main goal is to keep Florence firefighters safe from the virus.

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