Fire Chief, Josiah Dupuis, has said that a system has been put in place within the fire and ambulances services to enable proper execution in the management and elimination of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the island.
He said because fire officers are the front-line workers in this COVID-19 pandemic, the firemen are wearing protective equipment for protection while transporting patients.
To date, there have been twelve (12) positive cases of the virus in Dominica.
“We have a very serious undertaking in terms of our involvement with COVID-19 cases and therefore, it means that the fire officers who are transporting, driving or attending on the ambulances, must be protected. A lot is at stake for them, for their colleagues and family,” Dupuis said in an interview with Dominica News Online.
The Fire Chief stated that whenever there are persons who are deemed to be manifesting symptoms of this disease, health officials call the ambulance to transport the patient to the Dominica- China Friendship Hospital.
“We also transport persons from one medical facility to the next. So, in the case of Portsmouth, the St. James facility, to the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital…or it could be from a health centre anywhere,” Dupuis added.
He said his department faces certain challenges.
“Some of it has to do with staffing levels and how we assign persons the workload given the constraints,” the Chief explained.
He noted that the fire department recently took in twenty-seven (27) recruits who are now doing a rapid orientation program.
“Not to put them on the front-line in terms of COVID-19 but to get them self acquainted with some of the basic tenets of fire fighting and ease them very slowly into the main workforce,” Dupuis said adding that basic protocols in response, receiving calls and treatment of patients also form part of the orientation programme.
He thanked the Acting Deputy Fire Chief, Wayne Letang who he said “has been up to the challenge in the management and execution of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Dupuis said Letang has been serving in this position for only a month and has been doing an excellent job.
The Fire Chief also thanked the government and all the fire officers including those who are retired and on leave, for showing bravery, support and commitment during these trying times.
There are one hundred and fifteen people working within Dominica’s Fire Department.