HARRIS COUNTY – Crews of First Responders are thrust into the front lines of the war on COVID-19, and deserve recognition for their sacrifice. EMS technicians must answer calls that might include virus victims, and therefore they train and prepare for this contingency, as well as their normal emergency calls.
An example is Harris County ESD #5, Crosby’s ambulance service. They are medical troopers working with local fire departments and law enforcement for the safety of our community.
Asking Medical Chief and Director of Operations Christy Graves, CCEMT-P, how are treatments and procedures changing nowadays will get this response: “So, we are having to maintain our normal emergency response work and response to sick and possible COVID-19 positive patients. We have had to stay alert as well as change our protocols often, sometimes daily, in order to provide the best care for all citizens during this endemic. This includes the PPE we wear to protect everybody because of how close we interview the patients. Obviously, we have to touch people to provide emergency care. We have developed very stringent guidelines to do this including limiting the number of care providers inside the ambulance with patients. We are no longer allowing extra riders including family members to increase safety. The driver of the ambulance is also completely sealed from the rear. This creates a closed ventilation system to help in decontamination of the ambulances.”
Asking how these changes came about was answered, “We have spent many hours consulting on joint task forces with other nationally recognized EMS providers to develop the best practices for Crosby. The safety of our staff and the public is our top priority. Just like with other disasters, we will met this one collectively head-on. As with many medical systems across the nation, we have had our difficulties in accessing protective equipment and disinfectants. We have had to purchase different types including washable and renewable products in order to sustain the duration of this crisis.”
On April 6, Ms. Graves answered how the roadways are doing lately. “We have had 2 Life flights in the last 8 days involving motor vehicle collision. We have also had an unfortunate fatal motorcycle accident.”
What Graves would like to share with all locals is: “Our best advice is, if you do not need to go out on the road avoid it. Have only one member of your household shop. Wash your hands after each encounter as well as wash your workspaces/eating spaces. Hand washing is number 1! Do not touch your face, this is hard but it is very beneficial. Stay back six feet when visiting neighbors and friends. If you are sick and can manage, stay home. Going to a hospital will only make you sicker or get those who do not have the virus sick. Know we will get through this working together. One day we will look back at this moment and realize that as Americans, we can survive anything if we do it as a team.”