Two EMS employees from Cambria County are on a leave of absence after not following proper protocols regarding personal protective equipment.
The two people were part-time employees at East Hills Ambulance. The two employees were reprimanded and were placed on a leave of absence because of failing to wear a mask while on duty.
The incident took place a week ago when the two EMS employees took off their masks while on duty. I spoke with Donald Gawel, the manager at East Hills Ambulance. He says there was an incident where two part time employees did not follow protocol by not wearing a mask while on duty.
I then spoke with Carl Moen, who is the Executive Director of the Southern Alleghenies EMS Council. His office oversees these types of regulations with the help of the Department of Health and he Center for Diseases Control. He says EMS personnel should be wearing a mask at all times.
“Truly any patient that they go out and that they respond to they should be wearing at least a surgical mask or a cloth mask. And if the patient has any signs or symptoms of covid-19 then they should be wearing N-95s, doing the full eye protection, gloves, gown and all of the personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe,” said Moen.
Gawel says East Hills personnel do follow these guidelines on a regular basis. Moen says it is crucial for first responders like EMS to be wearing a mask for several reasons.
“Number one, they need to protect themselves. They aren’t any good to their community or anyone else if they become ill with covid-19,” said Moen. “Secondary they need to wear those masks and take those precautions to make sure they are protecting their patients and their families,” he added.
Again, the two part time employees who were not wearing a mask have since been reprimanded and are on a leave of absence from East Hills Ambulance.