Doolittle Rural Fire establishes policies when responding to COVID-19 patients

Lori Amos
The Rolla Daily News

On Saturday, Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District announced new policies the department has put in place when responding to an incident involving a possible COVID-19 positive patient. 

“Over the last couple of weeks, we have responded to multiple calls involving severely ill COVID patients throughout our district. We have put strict policies in place in regards to how we respond to these types of calls,” Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District said in a Facebook post announcing the new policies.

Doolittle Rural Fire Protection District’s dispatch center has now established a guideline that alerts emergency personnel when responding to a possible COVID-19 positive patient, where only one member will enter the residence to contact the patient.  

Department staff will initially instruct patients to put on a mask, and the department will provide masks to patients who don’t have one. 

If possible, the department will attempt to speak to the patient while maintaining a distance of six feet. 

If the patient is experiencing severe difficulty breathing and needs supplement oxygen, responders will quickly place that patient on oxygen. 

If the patient’s condition is critical or the patient is not breathing, the department will have several more members enter the residence to assist. 

“In the event of a cardiac arrest, we will place the patient on our new LUCAS CPR device, which allows hands-free CPR to be performed,” the department said. “This means our members are not kneeling over the patient for an extended amount of time performing CPR.”

Once responders load the patient into the ambulance, members of the department will use a spray to decontaminate and then respond to the ambulance base, where responders will use a special UV light to disinfect any equipment responders may have used. 

“Even though we are wearing masks, we will continue to self-monitor for any symptoms relating to COVID,” the department said Saturday.