Keeping EMT's, paramedics, and their patients healthy during flu season

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

For paramedics and EMT's, they have to be prepared for anything.  When they arrive on scene--they must be ready not only for physical injuries, but illnesses as well.

"Well we are more aware of what the concerns are with H1N1, but our staff members, EMT's and paramedics are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of any airborne type illness," said Shawn Perrin.

Perrin is the Education Director for Medic One Ambulance Service.  He says they've always been prepared for airborne illnesses, just like they've been prepared for any illness or injury.  They are working to keep patients safe and those treating patients safe too.  Perrin says they wear specially fitted masks if needed.  Perrin says if they suspect some type of airborne illness in a patient, he or she gets a mask too.

"Then we notify the receiving facility.   That way it gives them a chance to isolate them in a negative pressure room to keep them out of the general population to also decrease the chance of cross contamination," said Perrin.

Perrin  says cleaning and sanitizing is routine.   He says a lot of the items they use are disposable, which helps to reduce the chance of cross contamination.

"Anything that's on an ambulance that is not disposable is going to be cleaned with a disinfectant to prevent any type of cross contamination so that the next patient won't be exposed," said Perrin.

Perrin says they participate in continuing education and training to make sure EMT's, paramedics and those they care for stay as healthy and safe as possible.

Toby Emerson from Emerson Ambulance Service said, "we clean everyday.  We use universal precautions. We clean everyday like we're on heightened precautions."

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