Bay Space hearth paramedics dispatched to Bakersfield to assist careworn hospitals with COVID-19 pandemic

MARIN, Calif. (KGO) – As COVID-19 cases rise, Bay Area firefighters are deployed in hospitals across the state.

Bob Craft, a fire paramedic with the Central Marin Fire Department, works the night shift. Two hours after his shift, he intubated a patient in the emergency room who was hospitalized with stroke-like symptoms and prepared a COVID-19 patient for the remainder of the night on the stomach.

“It’s the range from really normal people who come to the emergency room to people with ventilators in the intensive care unit who are in the COVID ward,” the craft said.

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After a 12 hour shift, Steve Deck arrived at his hotel.

“IVs, blood draws, patients move around, and when the ICU is busy we go to the ICU and help the nurses up there,” said Steve Deck, captain and paramedic for the Fremont Fire Department, describing his current job.

Deck arrived in Bakersfield a week ago and when he first walked into the hospital he saw the following:

“We went to the emergency room and someone was already there who had stopped breathing, so it was like, ‘Wow, this is it.’ We’re going to work, let’s get started. I remember putting on a pair of gloves that I already had, my other PPE, and we were just starting to work when we walked in. “

Deck is one of only a handful of paramedics in the Bay Area stationed in one of the most stressed hospitals in Bakersfield and a county with 84,000 COVID-19 cases and 565 deaths.

Luz Pena: “How would you describe the climb that you are experiencing in Bakersfield?”

Steve Deck: “I’ve been with EMS for 19 years now and I never remember seeing anything like this. I’ve never seen hospitals look like this at home,” added, “There are currently 30-40 patients Basically, the entire second floor of this hospital has been converted into an intensive care unit. You go to places you wouldn’t normally see in an intensive care unit, and there are patients on ventilators with multiple medical pumps. “

Many of these firefighters commit to a two-week deployment.

“Often the communities forget that we are part of the health system and that we have a lot of trained staff. We are used to working during disasters and everyone wants to help. Wherever we can, we want more vaccines in our arms and in our arms of people get. ” We want to help hospitals that are on the rise. This is an extension of our daily work, “said Jason Weber, chief fire officer, Marin County Fire Department.

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According to Weber, this region has sent about 40 firefighters to the front lines of the pandemic in our state.

“Being away from home for two weeks is a huge commitment. At the same time, we are trying to manned our vaccination vessels in Marin and we are providing around 20 firefighters a day to assist with this process,” said Jason Weber, Fire Chef the Marin County Fire Department.

At home, they are used to seeing each other in forest fires, and now they wear scrubs and fight a new fight.

“It’s really nice to have other firefighters here who are on the same boat. Even though we’re from different departments, we’re from the same stuff and it’s good to have their support,” said Craft.

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