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Extra precautions help fit first responders with masks during flu season

Published: Friday, February 14, 2020 @ 3:04 PM
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2020 @ 3:58 PM

Extra precautions help fit first responders with masks during flu season

As peak flu season continues in Ohio, firefighters in Washington Twp. are taking extra measures to prevent first responders from coming down with illnesses while on calls.

>>RELATED: Flu hospitalization spike in Ohio called ‘deeply concerning’

Firefighters and medics have begun using N95 masks, which are described as one of the ways first responders minimize risk when dealing with a patient with an infectious disease, the Washington Twp. Fire Department said in a Facebook post Thursday. 

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Before being used in the field, the first responders are fitted for the masks and tested to make sure they fit properly. 

“Its not just a universal fit where I can just give you something and it’s going to fit for the entire department,” Scott Henry, Washington Twp. Fire Department Safely Educator told News Center 7’s Katy Anderson. “So if we give them safety equipment, we want to make sure it fits them properly.” 

While wearing the mask, a larger white mask is placed over the mask and head of the first responder to act as a chamber. Non-toxic chemicals are then sprayed into the larger white mask. 

If the responder smells or senses the odor, they mask isn’t fitting correctly and the responder the mask is worked for a better fit or a new one is issued. 

“We don’t want to have germs on us, spreading them from patient to patient,” Henry said. “We also don’t want to get infected ourselves because we have to come to work so we are here for the community as well.”

“We want to make sure everyone is safe.”