Orlando Fire Department demonstrates COVID protocol

Reminds residents that they do not administer COVID-19 testing

OFD taking extra steps for coronavirus

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Fire Department demonstrated steps it is taking to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect the public and it’s firefighters and paramedics. The department’s Health and Safety Division is working closely with the Florida Department of Health to ensure that first responders are equipped to treat patients suffering from flu-like symptoms or respiratory illnesses.

A unique tool that the Orlando Fire Department uses and demonstrated was this Aeroclave unit. They use it to decontaminate any of their trucks.

The fire chief says the Aeroclave is utilized whenever the firefighters or EMTs respond to an emergency involving someone with flu-like symptoms. A hose is attached to the vehicle and sprays a light peroxide mist that decontaminates their trucks. After about twenty minutes, the vehicle can be used again.

Firefighters also want to remind people that call 911, to let dispatchers know if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms.

“We’re on the front lines, so it’s important that we make sure our people are protected so we can continue to provide service during these times," said Chief Benjamin Barksdale.

Firefighters also put on their Personal Protection Equipment that includes a gown, gloves, face mask and eye protection.

“If one of our paramedic firefighters has a close contact with a person that has presented flu-like symptoms, they will be placed on work restrictions only if they didn’t have on their PPE," said Barksdale.

So far, Barksdale says the department has not responded to any COVID-19 calls, but says three firefighters are on a fourteen-day limited work and quarantine because they traveled out of the country.

The Orlando fire chief says all of their units are prepared and trained to respond to emergencies involving any one that may have the Coronavirus.

He also wants to remind everyone to not call 911 or firefighters for COVID testing. They said you need to call your doctor or go to the ER for that, because the fire department and paramedics do not administer tests for the Coronavirus.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.