Fond du Lac Fire Rescue adds new safety tool to ambulances

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:00 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Fond du Lac Fire Rescue is adding another line of protection for its frontline workers.

Since the Spring, when COVID-19 first appeared in Northeast Wisconsin, Fond du Lac Fire Rescue, like other first responders, implemented safety measures to keep its crews safe. Now, more than seven months later, and with the help of federal cares act funding, Fond du Lac Fire Rescue is adding powered air purifying respirators or PAPRs to all of its ambulances.

“The goal of this device and what we actually want to use it for is not only a. protecting our personnel in the pandemic and everything we deal with COVID, but also continue to provide the same level of care that we’ve provided before to our patients which may often be limited by the pandemic because it exposes some of our personnel unnecessarily,” says Assistant Chief of EMS Todd Janquart.

Commonly worn in hospitals by medical staff, the PAPRs will be used by paramedics treating patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The PAPRs are in addition to gloves, gowns and masks already worn by EMS crews. The devices include a hood and full facemask as well as a respirator, worn like a belt that pushes filtered air through the system to keep contaminants out.

“When we’re performing any of these procedures that this device actually allows us to continue to do those when previously we may have not done them because of the exposure level,” adds Janquart.

It’s been less than a week since the PAPRSs were added to Fond du Lac Fire Rescue ambulances, and they’ve already been used a few times. Having them available is comforting to first responders who know how effective these tools can be in keeping them safe.

Firefighter/Paramedic Nate Wilson adds, “It feels good. It feels much better than going in there with just an N-95 mask, that way you know that these are things that are being tested and tried and true in a hospital environment they’re being used daily so it feels very good.”

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