Camden County recently trained police, firefighters, and emergency medical responders on how to respond to potential Ebola cases. Speakers like infectious-disease doctor Henry Fraimow spoke on Ebola preparedness. First responders learned about dressing for the situation as well as dealing with emotional and psychological fears.
Police, firefighters, and emergency medical responders gathered recently to learn about Ebola preparedness. They learned about protocol like dressing in a HAZMAT suit with a respirator mask while taping up all possible gaps. "If you've ever watched "E.T." or the movie "Outbreak," the people in the suits on the movies are what you are going to see in front of you," said Stephen Pittman of the Camden County Hazardous Materials Unit.
Members of the Camden County Hazardous Materials Unit, Chris Costa and Stephen Pittman, dressed in HAZMAT suits to demonstrate the necessary precautions for attending to an Ebola case.
Putting on a protective HAZMAT gear is a process that requires two people to put on the suit, boots, and tape up the gaps. "It's not too cumbersome," said Chris Costa of the Camden County Hazardous Materials Unit. "The suit's pretty flexible it just gets hot inside."
The respiration mask is an integral part of the overall HAZMAT outfit. However, Costa acknowledges its drawbacks when he says, "The mask does cut off some of your vision to the side, so you always have to be aware of your surroundings, and keep an eye out for things happening around you."
Emergency responders learned the basics of attending to an Ebola call. While Ebola is a pretty rare thing to hear about in New Jersey, the head of training for Berlin Ambulance Lieutenant Jennifer Somers said there were no surprises. "[The training was] just a matter of refreshing everyone's knowledge, getting that training out to them, so they feel comfortable with it and keep themselves and their family safe at home afterwards," she said.
Both doctors Rick Hong and Henry Fraimow answered questions at the Ebola preparedness training session for emergency responders. Fraimow, an epidemiologist at Cooper University Hospital and expert in infectious-diseases, spoke on the importance of training and the dangerous misinformation and fear that surrounds Ebola. He also warned against the dangers of slipping up: "They're tired because they've just worked a long shift taking care of a patient wearing this heavy equipment, and that's when they are going to make mistakes. That's when they are going to inadvertently going to touch their face with their gloves, when their gloves aren't completely cleaned yet."