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A first responder’s look on COVID-19

All+three+groups+of+first+responders%E2%80%94firefighters%2C+paramedics%2C+and+police+officers%E2%80%94were+considered+essential+and+continued+working+during+the+pandemic.+%28Photo+by+Cleveland+Clinic+Newsroom%29%28https%3A%2F%2Fnewsroom.clevelandclinic.org%2Fcategory%2Fcovid19%2F%29
All three groups of first responders—firefighters, paramedics, and police officers—were considered essential and continued working during the pandemic. (Photo by Cleveland Clinic Newsroom)(https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/category/covid19/)

Despite the beliefs of many teenagers, they are not invincible. However, firefighters have shown properly following COVID-19 regulations will keep you safe, and first responders know how to take care of patients under these conditions. When the pandemic hit, all non-essential and many government-essential jobs stopped for a short period around the country, except for first-responders. Paramedics, firefighters, police officers, doctors and nurses had to work overtime to try and cushion the coronavirus pandemic’s impacts. 

This meant authorities raised safety standards, and protection against all sorts of bacteria and germs was of uppermost importance. The regulations changed over time from the very beginning of the pandemic to the current time when mass vaccination sites are vaccinating civilians by the millions.

Lucas Oblaender standing by his firetruck. (By: Britta Oblaender)
Headshot of my brother, Lucas. (By: Britta Oblaender)

My brother has been a firefighter since he was 17 and a paramedic since 19. He had found his passion at a young age and has been a first responder for over five years. So, of course, when the pandemic started, my family worried for his health and safety, but he would always casually respond with, “Oh, I’m all good.” 

While my brother was always nonchalant about the dangers of his occupation, my parents worried a little more about the circumstances surrounding the mysteriousness of this pandemic. 

“You cannot be any safer with our precautions,” my brother continued to say that to my parents to reassure them; however, he elaborated on their regulations. 

He and his co-workers had to isolate themselves from all other outside interaction. They wore multiple masks along with a face shield, multiple gloves that were replaced every few hours and monitored themselves regularly for symptoms. As the pandemic restrictions loosened, the government allowed first responders outside interaction; however, they had to be periodically tested for COVID-19. 

Along with their own personal regulation, first-responders were made aware if they were coming to help a patient suffering from COVID. When the pandemic began, police and fire dispatchers were required to ask 911 callers if they had COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. 

While no method of protection of this virus is perfect, the firefighter’s safety regulation’s effectiveness cannot be understated. While many doctors and first responders lost their lives due to this pandemic, some made it out without complications. For example, my brother was negative for SARS-Cov2 up until he became vaccinated. 

“The standard regulations are good, but they’re not enough to fully protect you,” said my brother when I asked him to compare the precautions he had to take versus the national regulations for all civilians. 

Although the emergency department has access to much better supplies, personal protective equipment and better training.

Spikes in COVID-19 cases occurred when the coronavirus initially broke out and then every time restrictions were loosened and public areas began to reopen. The combination of stores reopening and lapses in the infection prevention regulations led to these spikes. 

It is reassuring to know that even those who had to interact with COVID-19 patients daily could not contract the virus, which had deadly-like contagions. As spring break ends and vaccinations around the DMV become more available to all age groups, we can all relax our nerves but still know it isn’t 100%safe yet; it just will be eventually.

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