GIS – The procedures ensure that a minimal number of contact persons and equipment will be involved in the response to a potential case in order to limit the spread of disease and protect the country’s health workers.
The Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) has implemented guidelines for responding to a potential threat of Ebola.
Deputy Fire Chief Lambert Charles, said that draft protocols have been developed to ensure the readiness of Saint Lucia’s emergency services.
The procedure deliberately minimizes the number of staff who would come into contact with a potential case.
“The concept is that we do not intend for every regular staff member to be in a position to respond to an Ebola case,” Charles said.
“We need to minimize the number of contact persons that are going to be involved in any response.
“The response begins from the time we receive the call. We discussed details, for example, the job of the person who receives the call, what information are they asking for from the caller, and what are the key signs that we are looking for. When we have achieved that, then we inform the EMS supervisors, the Deputy Chief, and trigger the response team.”
The Department has also assigned one particular ambulance to respond to Ebola-related cases.
“We have identified one ambulance which is currently stationed at the Gros-Islet station. That ambulance will be the one utilized,” he said.
Charles explained that the ambulance identified is not in regular service, and will be made available solely for an Ebola response.
“It means that this ambulance will not be immediately brought into service at all; it will be disinfected and kept out of service for a period of time. The medical team will determine how we do that.”
Charles added that fire service staff will also receive training regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), once the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines are provided.