you're reading...

Cornelius News

First responders at risk during pandemic

April 9. ​​By Dave Yochum. Even though several Charlotte first responders tested positive for COVID-19, ​Cornelius firefighters and police are continuing to go in where others might flee—but armed with an understanding of the new health risks.

​Fire Chief Guerry Barbee said procedures are ​updated frequently. Among them:


​+​Medic is screening p​eople​ on the phone prior to dispatch​. If the p​atient​ has signs of the virus and the call is labeled as an “Alpha, Bravo or Charlie call” the F​ire Department’s in the county are not being dispatched. If the p​atient​ is not showing signs​, they​ are dispatched as usual. ​Calls are dispatched by level of severity Alpha (lowest) Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo (worst).

​+​When ​Cornelius firefighters​ arrive only one EMT makes contact with the p​atient​—from a distance—and performs his own set of questioning to determine if the p​atient ​is possibly positive or negative for symptoms.

​+ If the p​atient ​is positive the​y​ don P​ersonal Protection Equipment including N95 mask, gown, goggles​ and​​ two sets of gloves​ before perform​ing patient​ care.

​+That EMT ​is the only one with contact unless the p​atient​ is a priority p​atient​ and needs more assistance.

​Firefighters, Medic employees and police are essential workers under the stay-at-home orders locally and ​statewide.

​They deserve the utmost respect during the pandemic.


Cornelius Police are also screening calls ​and ​asking if the caller needs to see an officer or if the officer can call the​m.

​Chief Kevin Black said the department is encouraging resident​s wh​o need to file reports for minor things that do not require an officer​’​s presence to file the report by phone.

If an officer’s presence is needed ​they will respond. ​If​ their presence is needed at a residence​, police will ask​ the caller to step outside as opposed to going inside, when possible.