Health officials from Portage Area Ambulance recently purchased a new type of PPE to protect their first responders from COVID-19.
Before leaving the portage area ambulance station to head out on a call
Matt Penetzer suits up in these new level two protection suits to protect him in case he comes into contact with a COVID-19 positive patient.
“At times when riding down with them, we’re riding with these patients for 30 to 60 minutes at times during transports. They’re this close to your face at times, so we need something to protect us.”
Each of the station’s 22 first responders can now wear these while out on the job.
Managers say they found room in their tight budget with the help of some grant money
To make sure their first responders are protected so they can be there for a community that needs them.
“We had to figure out how to protect them, cause we don’t want them to come up with COVID and have to quarantine. And then the people of Portage and Portage Township wouldn’t have any coverage. We’d have to take the truck out of service.”
They now have five of these machines, called pappers, which filter clean air into their hoods so they won’t breathe covid contaminated air.
They have to put on a new suit every time there’s a new call but they each get their own hood to maintain.
Before these protection suits they just wore gowns, gloves, goggles, and masks.
“We have highly talented and highly trained people that we don’t want to lose. Not only because we would be shut down, but because they’re good people, and we need them.”
We all need them who come into close contact with the virus on a daily basis just to keep us safe.
“We have a good set of employees here. With EMS, they have to work easy, two or three jobs, just to make a living. So we want to make this location one of their easiest and the best, safest environment they work at.”