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Protecting first responders in a hazardous situation

WVNG works in Huntington to train first responders and other employees about the importance of...
WVNG works in Huntington to train first responders and other employees about the importance of proper decontamination efforts.(WSAZ)
Published: Mar. 16, 2020 at 2:28 PM EDT
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Dozens of first responders, state and local employees from six counties in both West Virginia and Kentucky got hands-on experience at Tri-State Fire Academy Monday morning.

There they learned the importance of safely decontaminating after responding to a situation.

"We don't normally encounter this very often," said David McClure, shift supervisor with Cabell County EMS.

Participants learned best practices to mitigate responder and employee exposure to COVID-19 as well as other radiological, biological and chemical responses.

"This is teaching your first responders, your hospital staff, your sanitation workers on how to properly put things away," said Capt. John Ivester with the West Virginia National Guard. "How to properly clean them down and how to properly implement these practices in order to keep everyone safe."

EMS workers say amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, dispatchers are asking a series of questions about callers, so that first responders can prepare accordingly.

"Any type of patient that would trigger an alarm, we're going in and our awareness is just heightened right now," said McClure.

Attendees learned about PPE's or Personal Protective Equipment, which one's are right for each type of situation and how to secure one another at a scene.

"It's like any call any day of the week," said Capt. Ivester. "You go out and you want to take the proper precautions to protect yourself, protect others, protect the family members so it doesn't spread to them whether it's a chemical agent, a nuclear agent, a biological agent."

The trainees then are able to take back the days lessons to their own department and organizations and potentially help shape standard operating procedures.