OUACHITA PARISH, LA (03/16/20) With schools, businesses and public places closing down due to the coronavirus, residents may be wondering if someone will be there to answer the call in an emergency.

The good news is, first responders will continue to work hard to make sure everyone is safe.

“We’re going to continue to respond as normal. We’re preparing whenever someone calls into 911 we’re screening those patients, we’re asking them the questions guild lined by the CDC, what type of symptoms they have, if they’ve have any kind of travel or contact with a patient” says Taylor Richard, Operations Manager for Acadian Ambulance Services.

This applies to other personnel who are called out as well.

“We’re going to continue to respond as we always have” says Randal Howard, EMS Officer for the Ouachita Parish Fire Department.

And they have protocals in place that will protect employees.

“They wear a mask, an N95 respirator mask, they wear that, they also wear a gown and gloves they wear eye protection also. We’re notifying our crews and first responders that this is a potential screen patient, and from there they’re just protecting themselves wearing the proper protective equipment and just monitoring that patient and alerting the hospitals too before we get there” says Richard.

“We’re taking the precautions that our personnel need to do to protect themselves, their families, by downing the proper gear if the patients signs and symptoms present. Isolating, as far as sending in one person instead of two initially to evalute the situation and limiting our exposures” says Howard.

While the city of Monroe could limit first responders, they dont anticipate it at this time.

“We may consider suspending our EMS response and just hand it over to the local EMS agency ambulance provider. We don’t really see any reason to prematurely suspend any of the services that we’re providing” says Fire Chief Terry Williams with the Monroe Fire Department.