Twin Falls Fire Department, first responders to dress in preventative COVID-19 gear on some calls

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) With the current status of COVID-19, the Twin Falls Fire Department wants those in the community to know the fire department has made a few response changes and has also updated their procedures and protocols to ensure the safety of first responders and members of the community.

The Twin Falls Fire department wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday they will take high risk personal protective equipment precautions from now on. (Source: KMVT)

For instance, all members will be in full protection isolation gear, such as masks, protective gloves, and gowns, to not expose themselves to the virus until patients are evaluated for flu-like symptoms.

It's also worth noting, there will not be a full crew responding to patients that are presenting symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, it will be either a firefighter, quick response member or paramedic.

The Twin Falls Fire Department wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday they will take high risk personal protective equipment precautions from now on.

"If you are not sick enough to be in the hospital or to need active treatment, there's a very good chance you will not be transported to the hospital," said Kevin Kraal, EMS Medical Director, Magic Valley Paramedics, St. Luke's.

Kraal said he has seen a significant uptick in response calls to people with respiratory illnesses that will surely increase rapidly. Therefore, focusing on those particular patients is imperative.

Moreover, Twin Falls Fire Chief Les Kenworthy said he wants people to know the fire department is united. Secondly, he said, they meet often — sometimes daily — with different organizations around the city, along with the task force group working collectively to see how they should approach patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19, adding there are crafted policies in place.

"That's one positive out of this is that I think it's really pulling our leadership groups together in these different facets throughout the community," he said.

Kenworthy also reassures people that they must not panic, as the Twin Falls Fire Department is in close contact with other colleagues getting first-hand information from Washington's Puget Sound, Seattle and King County.

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