Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
With the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Colorado, North Metro Fire Rescue District is taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of its community members and first responders.
North Metro Fire has implemented additional personal protection protocols for its first responders to help prevent exposure and the spreading of COVID-19 while responding to emergency calls. Additionally, the fire district is temporarily suspending station and engine tours, participation in community events, and other nonessential activities and external training, in accordance with federal and state recommendations.
We have been working with our public health partners and closely following COVID-19 and its potential impact on our community and emergency operations. One of our top priorities is to ensure we take the right precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to our patients and at-risk populations. Additionally, we want to protect our first responders’ health, so we can continue to respond and help those who need us.
Measures Taken by North Metro Fire
North Metro Fire joins a number of Denver metro area fire departments in adopting measures for emergency response and scaling back from external events. The proactive steps align with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We realize everyone has their own idea of how to respond to a public health threat such as COVID-19, and we don’t want residents to panic or live in fear. However, we know that early containment, through social distancing, vigilant hygiene and isolating those infected by the virus, is the best way we as a community can protect ourselves and protect our most vulnerable populations. That’s why we are taking extra steps to protect our community and to help prevent the rapid spread of the virus locally.
Precautionary measures taken for emergency operations include:
- 911 dispatchers will screen patients who call with an emergency.
- If COVID-19 is suspected, crews will limit exposure by wearing protective gear and restricting the patient exam to one paramedic.
- Family members or other riders will not be allowed to ride in the ambulance with the patient. In rare cases, the parent or guardian of a patient who is a minor may be allowed to ride in the ambulance.
- If the patient is suspected of having COVID-19 and needs to go to the hospital, North Metro Fire crews will create a protected area in the ambulance to minimize exposure and will notify the designated hospital. The ambulance will be decontaminated following the transport of the patient to the hospital.
Please review these helpful handouts that further explain our procedures and how you can protect yourself and others:
- When to Transport to the Hospital or Not
- What to Do If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms
- Advice for Concerned Neighbors If You See Us Respond in PPE
Office Closure and Suspension of External Activities
As of March 20, North Metro Fire’s administrative building and Training Center are closed, and business operations will be handled by staff remotely. Please see our statement for more information about the office closure and measures taken to maintain operations and services for our residents and customers. Fire Prevention services, including plan review and permitting services will continue as usual, but all plans must be submitted electronically through our website.
Additionally, North Metro Fire has suspended all business travel, multi-agency trainings, participation in community events and other nonessential external activities for at least 30 days, at which point the fire district will reassess the threat and risk to health and safety. This includes canceling station tours, engine tours, ride-alongs and car seat checks and postponing the upcoming Citizens Academy and St. Baldrick’s Head-Shaving Event.
District Board Meetings to be Held Virtually
In order to increase social distancing and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community, North Metro Fire will begin hosting its regular board of directors meetings virtually. Residents will have the opportunity to attend the monthly board meetings remotely by utilizing a videoconferencing service, Zoom. Residents can connect online with video or simply audio to listen and participate in board meetings. The District will post the login information on the District’s website and each meeting agenda.
How to Properly Use a Mask and Gloves to Protect Yourself and Others
Guidelines for Self Protection and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
All residents are encouraged to follow the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the CDC and their local public health departments for the latest information on COVID-19. Here is a great website from the CDC containing helpful information and guidelines to help protect you and those around you.
The following are guidelines from CDPHE and CDC:
Take everyday actions to protect yourself and those you love
- There are effective ways to reduce the risk to yourself and the people you care about.
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick, and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home, and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
- Avoid large gatherings and crowded public places.
- Be calm and prepared.
- People who are not sick do not need face masks to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. Ill people should wear a mask to protect family members or in any scenario where needed to prevent the spread of germs.
- Practice social distancing - Avoid crowded public places (shopping centers, movie theaters, concerts, etc.), avoid large gatherings, and maintain distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
- FEMA: Guidance for COVID-19 preparedness
- CDC: Getting your household ready for COVID-19
- CDPHE Environmental Cleaning Guidance for COVID-19 - English | Spanish | Simplified Chinese | Vietnamese
Higher risk people
- Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including:
- Older people (over age 60), especially those over 80.
- People who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease or diabetes.
- Older people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk.
- People at higher risk should take action now to be prepared for this virus if there is an outbreak in their community.
- Everyone’s daily preventive actions are important in reducing spread to people who may experience more severe illness.
- More guidelines from the CDC for higher risk populations
If you suspect you are sick
- Check out North Metro Fire’s info sheet adopted from CDC guidelines
- From the CDPHE:
- We encourage anyone who has symptoms or believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to:
- CALL OR EMAIL a healthcare provider first. If the provider recommends you get testing or care, follow the provider’s advice BEFORE going into any health facility. Ask your provider about private lab sites where you can get tested.
- DO NOT go to an emergency room to get a test for COVID-19 unless you are having a medical emergency. For COVID-19, that means severe respiratory symptoms such as shortness or breath or breathing difficulties.
- DO call 911 or go to an emergency room if you are having a medical emergency. Tell the dispatcher your symptoms.
- We encourage anyone who has symptoms or believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to:
- Those with mild symptoms are advised to isolate themselves from others for at least 7 days and to notify their primary care physician. Testing may or may not be readily available, but the patient should self isolate regardless if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, coughing and shortness of breath). Most people will not need hospitalization. There is currently no medication or vaccination for COVID-19.
Resources and Services for Assistance
- Talking to your children about COVID-19
- A comic book for kids explaining COVID-19
- School info (including meal services for students)
- City/county information
Colorado Hotline for COVID-19 Questions (not for diagnosing cases): CO-HELP is Colorado’s call line for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.
What You Can Do to Help
- You have an opportunity to help those in your community who are suffering as a result of school closings, business closings and reduced operations, and social isolation. Consider these ways of helping out during this challenging time:
- Donate money to local nonprofits, especially those assisting lower income families
- Give money or food to your local food banks (Broomfield FISH, Immaculate Heart of Mary Food Bank, Food for Hope in Adams County)
- Make an appointment to donate blood. Many of the local hospitals and blood banks are experiencing low inventories of blood. If you are healthy and have no COVID-19 symptoms, consider donating blood.
- Reach out to individuals who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19, and offer to bring them food or groceries
- Find ways to support your local small businesses (take advantage of ’to go’ orders and online business options)
- Connect with your friends, families and neighbors on the phone, through social media and email, and help minimize the mental toll social isolation can have.
- Ready to step up and help?? Check out the opportunities at this state-hosted website for volunteers.
Many people are using Coronavirus as an opportunity to take advantage of individuals to get them to purchase products or make donations to fraudulent companies and organizations. Do not fall victim to these scams!
North Metro Fire is not and will not ask its residents for money for its firefighters. Any organization calling and making such a request is not affiliated with our fire district. Please check out these resources with tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.