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Emergency responders take precautionary measures for coronavirus calls

Bozeman Fire says you should call your doctor to report symptoms
Posted at 6:39 AM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 08:39:42-04

BOZEMAN — “If you can check in with your primary care doctor first that's ultimately where we’d like you to start if you have flu-like symptoms at this time,” said Captain Josh Charles with the Bozeman Fire Department.

That’s Bozeman Fire’s advice for those who think they’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

But unless symptoms are severe, they want you to think twice before calling 911.

This is one of many steps emergency responders are taking to reduce exposure to emergency responders, clinics and the hospital.

But no matter what, they will respond to your call and have an established protocol for protection.

Dispatchers will inform first responders if the caller is showing symptoms and report their recent travel history.

They are also informed whether or not the caller believes they have been in contact with somebody who has the virus.

“If we get on scene and we suspect coronavirus could be the case, we’re going to immediately put a face mask on the patient if we need to be in contact with them. And we’re also going to limit the number of people that we send into the residence,” said Charles.

Responders also have their own masks, gloves, protective eye wear and gowns if they believe they will be interacting with somebody who may have coronavirus.

But the goal is to limit exposure from the start.

“It’s taking us out of the loop of putting ambulances out on the street to transport you to the hospital. And ultimately right now we’re trying to refrain from transporting those with flu like symptoms unless you have respiratory or cardiac distress.”

So if you’re feeling sick, give your doctor a call first. Unless it’s and emergency.

The Bozeman Fire Department that they are sticking to emergency response only during this time. Public education courses and outside training are canceled.

As an extra precautionary measure, Bozeman Fire Department is not allowing visitors at the stations.