Rapid City Fire Department’s actions amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Jacob Fitzgerald

Rapid City Fire Department Headquarters.

Jacob Fitzgerald, Online Editor and Contributer

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KBHU -TV) – While people are sheltered in place due to the COVID-19, first responder agencies such as the Rapid City Fire Department are always on-duty to handle emergency calls.

As of April 23, the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed there are 1,956 positive cases and 12,109 negative cases of the COVID-19 virus in South Dakota.

Lt. Jim Bussell, Public Information Officer and Paramedic for the Rapid City Fire Department says there has been a small decease in call volumes for the RCFD since the pandemic started.

However, what if someone with the COVID-19 Virus has a medical emergency?

“Regardless of what the complaint is, if they believe they have a medical emergency they should call 9-1-1.” Said Lt. Bussell.

Lt. Bussell says the RCFD is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control to protect their patients and crew members.

“If they have complaints that they have an active COVID infection, we will send our mobile medic in first.” Bussell continues, “One responder to make sure we are limiting not only potential exposure to other responders, but we are also being careful with the amount of personal protective equipment we’re using.”

The lone responder will assess the patient to determine if something is possibly COVID-19 related or if other care is required. Although most of their procedures were already in place prior to the current pandemic, Lt. Bussell adds the department conducts temperature and wellness checks of their personnel every twelve hours.

Lt. Bussell encourages people to continue following CDC guidelines, practice social distancing, and do their part to help flatten the curve.

For further information from the Fire Department or the South Dakota Department of Health you may visit the links provided.

https://www.rcgov.org/departments/fire-department.html

https://doh.sd.gov/news/coronavirus.aspx#SD