Members of the public are being implored to provide the correct information about the condition of a patient when they call the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) to access emergency medical services (EMS).
Officer in charge of the Fire Prevention Division and Public Relations Officer at the JFB, Emeleo Ebanks, said that there have been instances where, instead of telling the EMS that an individual is displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, callers label the emergency as an obstetrics case or other type of medical emergency.
“Because of the cloud that is over the COVID situation, a lot of persons, when they are calling, will not tell you the truth of what the situation is about, and when you arrive on the scene you arrive in this situation.
“We really want to point out to persons, whenever you call the EMS, whenever you call the JFB, in general, be very open and give the correct information, as this will ensure the kind of response you will get in terms of preparation and what it is that we must do to assist you,” he noted.
Mr. Ebanks, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, noted that as part of measures implemented to protect members of the JFB and the public, all emergency cases are now treated as a potential COVID-19 cases.
“So our response is in full personal protective equipment (PPE), so its masks, gowns, face shields and goggles and gloves. Once we get back to the station there is a decontamination area where persons will strip down, remove the contaminated clothing and then they will move into another space where they will be sanitised. Of course, the ambulance will be sanitised, so we can respond to another case,” he outlined.
Mr. Ebanks commended the work of the emergency medical technicians (EMT) , noting that they have been among the first responders in the country’s fight against the COVID-19.
“We really want to congratulate the members for the tremendous job that they have been doing; it is not easy. One of the things that I always point out to persons is, as an EMT, whenever you jump into that ambulance, you never know what you are facing,” he noted.
Mr. Ebanks is also reminding the public that the JFB is the country’s premier emergency response agency and should be contacted for such assistance.
“We encapsulate emergency response in Jamaica. Every emergency that you can think of you can call the JFB and we will be able to respond.
“We do not only respond to fires… we respond to all emergencies – that is, motor vehicle and any kind of trauma or medical emergency. In the situation that we are in now with COVID-19, we have responded to a number of COVID cases,” he pointed out.
The public can call local fire stations for assistance or the emergency numbers 110 and 112.
The JFB ambulance service operates out of fire stations in Negril, Savannah-la-mar, Hanover, St. James, Linstead and Portmore.