Seymour Rescue’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As Director of Seymour Rescue, I am closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Like all volunteer and paid Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Seymour Rescue is working with local, county, state and federal governments in making the best choices in transport or non-transport of individuals who are facing a possible medical emergency. The goal is to decrease the risk of exposure to EMS service providers and hospital and medical clinic staff. We don’t want to overwhelm hospitals, clinics and their staff leaving them unable to care for patients who need immediate medical attention. While the Federal government is working with State officials in preparing for the possibility of a massive outbreak, we need to be proactive. In response to this pandemic, a triage system is being utilized by 911 dispatch staff, clinics, hospitals and even ambulance service providers.
What does this mean to you? If you call 911 with flu type of symptoms, the dispatcher will ask you a series of questions. It is important that you are patient with the dispatcher and are truthful about your symptoms. In some instances, the dispatcher may refer you to your primary care physician, the website or nurse direct for additional information. Do not contact call 911 if you have basic questions about COVID-19.
When we are dispatched for any medical or trauma 911 call, we will take extra precautions to protect ourselves. This means that we won’t be rushing toward the patient to perform an initial assessment. Until we can make an initial assessment, we will keep the 6-foot social distance. We will put on appropriate personal protective equipment as necessary (gloves, goggles, gown, masks.) You may be asked to put on a surgical mask before we approach you. We may contact the hospital to obtain medical direction on whether it is best for you to stay at home and self-quarantine or be transported to the hospital. Although, there is not a shortage of beds at area hospitals at this time, it may come to the point where the choice of hospital we transport a patient to will be based on availability and condition of our patient. Ambulance ride alongs of family or friends of the patient will not be allowed in the patient compartment of the ambulance. In some situations, a family member or friend may be able to ride in the front passenger seat during transport. This will be situational dependent. If our Seymour Rescue members are under a need to be quarantined, you may need to wait for a service outside of the community to respond to your 911 call. This is why it is important that we are triaging patients for need for transportation to a hospital for further care or asking patients to stay at home and self-quarantine.
Outagamie County Emergency management staff are working diligently in keeping information up to date on the website. They are also offering video conferences to allow emergency services to ask questions. In addition, they are assisting emergency services in obtaining necessary personal protective equipment.
On the city level, Department Heads from the City of Seymour have been in constant communication and will continue to do so as we face this crisis. We are also collaborating with Seymour Rural Fire and EMR’s. Updates will be provided as available.
Submitted by
Mary Greuel, Director of Seymour Rescue

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