Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, met with staff to discuss the status of operations regarding the current Covic-19 pandemic response. Currently, the main concern is maintaining a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the field personnel responding to emergency medical calls. It was presented that the EMS incident call volume is close to maintaining an average daily response with some days higher than others. However, it was noted that over a nine-day period, the supply of N95 masks reduced approximately 62% which reflects that fire personnel are following recommended protective measures. The N-95 mask is a safety device that covers the nose and mouth and helps protect the wearer from breathing in some hazardous substances.
Over those nine days, the fire department has transported at least 36 patients with "flu like" symptoms that require full PPE. The staff members are also looking into ways of firefighters being safe in a worst-case scenario if the masks do become depleted. EMS Chief, Nate Sullivan, will draft a plan today to help conserve masks and utilize them to the maximum extent possible. Supplies are on back order and is unknown when they could arrive.
According to Chief Prather, “We have to be prepared for that moment if we do not get a resupply. We want to emphasize that employee safety is the utmost priority. We are working to identify a backup plan for continued operations without increasing the risks to our medics.”
Chief Prather wants to emphasize to all of our citizens to continue to follow the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations to help prevent the spread of the corona-19 virus. Maintain the 6 feet social distancing, frequent washing of hands, avoid congregations and remain at home all that you can at this time.