Washington, DC

Ed. Note: NBC Washington reported: “2nd DC Firefighter Positive for Coronavirus, As Many as 100 Quarantined: Sources”.

Regarding the police – “Metropolitan Police Department Operational Adjustments During COVID-19”.

“Dear PoPville,

My cousin is a dc firefighter (I know we’re not supposed to start stories with that rn but it’s true!). Last few days have been hearing horror stories about all the non-emergency calls they’re still getting. Thankfully at the end of last week DCFEMS received protective gear + new protocols.

But… been spinning my wheels for how to help get out the message that we need to protect our first responders by not sending them into homes with potential CoVid19. We need to do this by not allowing non-emergency calls (ones with mild symptoms and not life threatening) to be answered by DCFEMS, possibly exposing entire firehouses and extra families to this virus. Can the city/mayor find a way to direct people’s 911 calls with flu-like symptoms elsewhere? Believe Uber is offering vouchers + there’s a nurse line to call for advice. How can we administer some sort of penalty for arriving at the home of someone who is not in fact experiencing life-threatening symptoms?

These men and women signed up to save lives which means often being in very dangerous situations–many of which are still occurring. DCFEMS needs to be for true emergencies right now. Is covid an emergency? Of course. But for the vast majority of cases the symptoms, while scary + confusing, are not and therefore do not warrant these services.

DCFEMS has done a good job requiring and providing suits, goggles, gloves and disposable dress for their firefighters/EMTs. But after each potential call, they have to throw it all away (waste of resources for non emergencies), undress and shower, wipe down all surfaces in vehicles, and somehow still respond to the myriad of calls. Not the best use of time or people. One DC firefighter already has it. God forbid it spreads throughout the whole DCFEMS, leaving our city without the folks we need for true emergencies–which, again, don’t stop because of a pandemic.

Anyways, not sure who or what to do to help with this problem. Seems like the list of problems in our city/world is multiplying by the minute–many of which, like this one, existed before the pandemic. Now seems like a pretty good time to clean up our acts.”


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