The Santa Rosa Fire Department on Tuesday morning launched a new emergency Pandemic Response Unit, an additional effort to minimize potential Fire Department and community exposure to the novel coronavirus.
The emergency unit will respond to patients suspected of having COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and those who are experiencing flu-like symptoms within Santa Rosa.
The Pandemic Response Unit's vehicle, Squad 1, is equipped with specialized person protective equipment and advanced life support gear. The vehicle will be staffed by one paramedic and one emergency medical technician from the Fire Department.
Santa Rosa is one of the first few departments in the state with a Pandemic Response Unit of its kind to respond to the virus.
Fire Department personnel in the response unit will wear additional personal protective equipment, minimize contact with potentially infected patients and will decontaminate before leaving the location of an emergency call.
Fire Department personnel assigned to the Pandemic Response Unit will follow newly developed guidelines that address response, required protective equipment and patient treatment.
"This is a proactive and innovative method to reduce exposure to the coronavirus and limit the possibility of a widespread infection within our community, our Department and families of our staff," Fire Chief Tony Gossner said.