Watertown firefighters, police wear face masks when responding to calls

WWNY Watertown firefighters, police wear face masks when responding to calls

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Since last week, Watertown city firefighters have been wearing more protective equipment when responding to calls. It's all to help keep first responders safe from COVID-19.

The firefighters go through tests to make sure their N-95 masks are fitting right. With COVID-19, they're wearing them on every call.

“We can’t just rely on having somebody having flu-like symptoms to be an indicator that they are ill. In order to protect ourselves with the amount of close interaction with the public we have, we are wearing the masks in case we come in contact with that person who is in the early stages of the illness and isn’t symptomatic yet,” said Watertown Fire Chief Matthew Timerman.

When callers do have flu-like symptoms, 911 dispatch is alerting the department.

"Now they will see us wearing N-95 masks, goggles. We have some gowns if necessary. Face shields are on order. So if a patient is coughing, those droplets would hit the shield as opposed to our eyes mouth and it will also help keep the N-95 masks cleaner," said Timerman.

The Watertown Police Department also has masks. Officers are using them depending on the circumstances.

Timerman says he's trying to limit the number of firefighters who have contact on medical calls.

He also says that if you call 911 and it is possible to meet firefighters outside your home, that would help provide better protection against the virus for both you and first responders.

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