In Flagstaff, firefighters are considered primary medical responders and the department has partnered with Northern Arizona Healthcare amid the pandemic to have one paramedic available per truck.
Out of the 350 calls the fire department received last week, calls related to the topic of general sickness made up 10% to 30%. Firefighters have been wearing many of their critical supplies to calls to ensure their safety even if dispatchers are unable to deduce any symptoms beforehand. If a patient exhibits flu-like symptoms, the person is provided a surgical mask for the safety of the first responders.
Jen Brown, support services manager for the Flagstaff Police Department, works to provide the supplies, resources and equipment Flagstaff officers need to do their work. She said even one officer getting sick could have a huge impact on the force.
“It’s just another thing to be able to protect our officers while they’re out in the field,” Brown said.
So when she raced around town to find hand sanitizer last week, the only thing she found was that she was too late to the shelves.
Brown then went to the internet to find hand sanitizer recipes to create the department’s own brand of sanitizer. However, once again, the rubbing alcohol she needed was out of stock in town, so she ended up buying it in bulk from the internet with several gallons of hand sanitizer.