OCAD crews upgrade ambulance, create UV gear-treatment room
Ozark County Ambulance District personnel have outfitted one of the district’s three ambulances to safely transport patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, OCAD administrator Stacy Raney, pictured here, said Mon-day. The newly outfitted ambulance has a negative-pressure hospital-style tent around the patient bed that allows air to flow into the tent and then be vented directly outside the vehicle to better protect emergency personnel from contracting the potentially deadly virus as they reach under the tent to treat the patient. Eventually all three ambulances will be outfitted similarly, Raney said. District personnel have also converted the ambulance base’s tornado shelter into a UV-treatment room where used gowns and other protective gear can be sterilized by UV light. Crews have also carefully repackaged all bedding and materials used by the ambulance crews to reduce the chance of cross-contamination between used and unused items. The district has also purchased a second ventilator for use in an ambulance, and it has doubled its amount of airway-related equipment. Raney said crews are now responding to any respiratory- or flu-like-symptom calls wearing full protective gear, including coveralls and masks. The change means it might take the ambulance a little longer that usual to respond to these calls, he said, since crew members now need a few more minutes to pull on the special protective gowns and equipment so they’re protected from possible COVID-19 exposure.