Corbett Fire District changes how first responders approach patients during COVID-19 outbreak.

COURTESY PHOTO: CORBETT FIRE DISTRICT -      Just like all first responder agencies, the Corbett Fire District has had to adjust its procedures because of COVID-19. The most important changes are designed to protect the health of first responders and minimize their exposure to the virus.

"Regardless of the nature of the call, all first responders will approach potential patients with full personal protective equipment," said Fire Chief Dave Flood. "In most calls, it will only be one first responder who will initially enter the home to assess the situation, then a decision will be made on treatment of the patient." Flood said people have been understanding about the change.

Other changes include that volunteers will no longer meet on Monday night to drill during the health crisis. Instead, they will take online classes to improve their skills.

Additionally, the Fire Hall will no longer be available to the public for meetings. Long time Corbett Fire Board member, Leroy Smith, who has been with the department since the 1960s cannot recall the building ever being closed to the public.

Because of the building being closed, the Corbett Fire Board will hold its April 8 monthly meeting by conference call.

Another change will be that the Ferd Riehl Scholarship Breakfast, normally held in June, will be postponed. According to Joe Fahlman, president of the Corbett Firefighter Association, "We are considering alternative ways of funding the scholarship at this time."

Other activities are proceeding normally. The equipment is being maintained on a regular basis. The annual required hose testing took place this last week.

"The good news is the call rate is running about one half of what it does on a normal basis," Flood said. "Our medical supplies are in good shape and the cooperation with AMR ambulance has been outstanding."

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