Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services (RCEMS) has implemented new sanitization protocols in an effort to protect their employees and patients from COVID-19.
“We want to make sure that our patients that truly need us do not hesitate to call us for assistance for fear of the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said Supervisor of Education and Training Steve Hart. “For that reason, we’ve enhanced our cleaning efforts, including the use of innovative ways to disinfect units and equipment after calls.”
The department now has a decontamination machine that emits a fine mist of disinfectant capable of filling the entire interior of the ambulance unit. This machine is used every morning and after every call requiring transport of patients with either flu-like or COVID-19-like symptoms.
Additionally, all units are wiped down with antimicrobial spray after every call. RCEMS has also recently purchased ultraviolet lights to place in all of the stations. The purpose of the lights is to reduce any contaminants that could be present on clothing, equipment, or in living quarters.
“This is not only being done for the safety of our employees and patients,” said Hart, “but also to minimize the chance of us carrying any harmful particles home to our families.”
RCEMS reminds citizens who have medical concerns that could potentially be related to COVID-19 to first contact their primary healthcare provider or the Rutherford County Health Department (RCHD) to be assessed before taking a ride to the hospital. Doctors or RCHD representatives, upon assessment, can connect patients with proper resources, including test sites for the virus. RCHD can be contacted Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 615-898-7880 or 615-849-0347.
“Calling your doctor or the health department first is just another way to slow the spread of the virus to others in public areas like clinics and hospitals,” said Hart. Hart says that a reduction in RCEMS’s calls over the last month is likely due to the public’s willingness to adhere to this advice.
“We thank our citizens for the personal responsibility that we’ve seen them take over the last several weeks,” said Hart. “It truly takes us all working together to reduce the spread.”