First responders train for COVID-19 in Anniston

Calhoun Co. first responders train in COVID-19 gear

ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - Anniston first responders are receiving training as they prepare to deal with patients who may have COVID-19.

A group of firefighters and ambulance medics gathered Tuesday at the Anniston Fire Training Center to learn how to put on and take off personal protective equipment that would be used to deal with a patient that has the pandemic virus.

Last week, a similar session took place in Oxford and next week one will be held in Jacksonville.

The demonstration involved putting on two layers of gloves and checking the protective clothing for breaches.

Medics are also being taught to check for obvious symptoms. They are coughing, difficulty breathing, and a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

"That's going to key us up, that we're going to need to be prepared to at the very least, have one of our personnel dress into the proper PPE, assess the patient, and prepare the patient for transport when that transport agency gets there," says fire chief Chris Collins.

Collins wanted to assure Anniston residents the fire department is still ready to answer any and every call, COVID-19 related or not.

"We'll get through this together as a community, and we'll be stronger, more prepared for it on the backside when we're done," Collins said.

The fire chief says dispatchers are also attending the classes to learn which questions to ask about the patients.

The instructor works for the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

Some 500 people are being trained, but in groups of roughly 25 to 50 at a time in accordance with state and CDC guidelines.

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