Montgomery first responders have plan for dealing with COVID-19

Montgomery first responders have plan for dealing with COVID-19

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - While 911 is not getting clogged down with coronavirus calls, Melinda Shonk is hoping a simple message will help prevent that possibility.

“The calls I’ve heard have not been extremely emotional,” said Shonk, the 911 Communications Chief of Staff.

The callers have expressed more concern than anything else. Operators are now posing a series of questions before sending the medics out.

“And based on those response and what those symptoms actually are, we’ll send the medics to their location or we may have them contact their personal physician or provide one of the numbers to call to see if they need to tested,” said Shonk.

Should the fire department get the word to go, callers shouldn’t be surprised to see medics in protective clothing: glasses, gowns, gloves and sleeves.

“This is not overkill. This is some of the equipment and supplies we use on a regular, any kind of infectious airborne disease potential,” said Montgomery Fire Capt. Chris King.

Paramedics and firefighters say this has nothing to do with scaring people on the scene but everything to do with protecting them, and you.

“We don’t want them to spread it to other members and we don’t want them to spread to family members,” said Montgomery Fire District Chief Quentin Burke.

Care Ambulance has put up a see-through partition between the driver and the patient in back.

Shonk says 911 operators may also suggest callers dial 211, which is a health and human organization in Montgomery specializing in helping people find basic services. 211 serves 13 surrounding counties.

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