News Flash

Fire - News Releases

Posted on: March 23, 2020

Virus Response Unit (VRU)

In response to the rise in calls involving flu-like symptoms, the Abilene Fire Department is establishing a Virus Response Unit (VRU).  This unit is comprised of two paramedic firefighters who will staff our current Medic1 vehicle.  The VRU will respond to calls where a patient may be displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19.  Normal response to these types of calls is either a fire engine or ladder truck.  Assigning a specialized team to these calls allows personnel from this unit to become more familiar with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 patients and it also minimizes possible exposure to AFD personnel.

Starting today, (1) VRU will be placed into operation.  A second unit is being prepared and will be ready for implementation if the need arises.  If the VRU is not available, then a fire engine will continue to respond to these calls.

Along with the VRU, a new COVID-19 protocol is being distributed to personnel today.  This protocol was created, in association with AMR-Metrocare, in an effort to better serve potential patients and to ensure the safety of responding personnel.  This protocol is directly related to the Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocol concerning Pandemic/Epidemic/Outbreak (PEO) emergency calls.  Dispatchers will use the PEO term and respond the VRU to calls involving potential COVID-19 symptoms.

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