COVID-19 ambulance response unit launched by Valley fire departments

Apr 1, 2020, 4:05 AM
(Twitter photo/Ali Vetnar)...
(Twitter photo/Ali Vetnar)
(Twitter photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — Two west Valley fire agencies have teamed up to create the first joint COVID-19 response unit in Arizona.

The unique partnership is between the Buckeye Fire Department and the Buckeye Valley Fire District.

“We sat down and tried to brainstorm a solution for a problem we’ve never been presented with before,” Buckeye Fire Chief Bob Costello told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The result is a co-staffed ambulance dedicated solely to responding to 911 calls related to the coronavirus outbreak.

The first of its kind emergency response unit went into service on Monday and is serving the residents in the Buckeye area for 24 hours a day, everyday.

“We have a member of the Buckeye Valley Fire District that drives it and a paramedic from the city of Buckeye that is on it for patient care,” Costello added.

“We put it in place for a couple of reasons: First is to provide a better level of service to our residents… We are dressed appropriately and we can manage them in a safe manner. It also allows us to slow down the amount of personal protective equipment we are going through.”

If the person seeking emergency assistance who has coronavirus symptoms is stable, the COVID-19 response unit will be the only one deployed.

“What we are trying to do is really limit our exposure with engine companies,” Costello added. “We have two people dressed in full personal protective equipment and we have one vehicle that is easier to decontaminate, which helps us prevent cross contamination.”

Right now, firefighters and paramedics can volunteer to work on the unit.

Another unit is anticipated to be launched next week.

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COVID-19 ambulance response unit launched by Valley fire departments