ASHVILLE — The Harrison Township Fire Department announced two updates to policies this week, including donning of PPE prior to an EMS call.

In a press release sent by Fire Chief Chad Noggle, the department announced they would again start wearing additional protection for personnel on EMS runs.

“The Harrison Township Fire Department has returned to wearing precautionary personal protective equipment (PPE) to known COVID responses when advised by the Pickaway County Communications Center,” Noggle said in the release.

“PPE consists of eye protection, respiratory protection, gowns and gloves. While most of this protection is put on prior to arrival at the incident address, some equipment cannot, for safety reasons. This will require personnel to finish their PPE protocol prior to entering the premises. The delay will be minimal. These protocols are in place to protect our patients and our first responders.”

Noggle said they’re also asking people to let dispatchers know if there is a positive COVID-19 test result or a case is suspected in the home.

“If you are in need of emergency medical services and have a positive COVID test result or suspect that you may have been exposed, we ask that you inform the 911 dispatchers when calling 911,” he said.

In addition, they’ve announced updates to their policy on transporting patients to Columbus-area hospitals.

“The Harrison Township Fire Department strives to provide extraordinary care to all our residents, including transporting to the hospital of their choice,” Noggle said.

“We have many protocols in place to ensure that patients are getting treated and transported to the most appropriate hospitals. One such protocol is the Emergency Patient Transport Plan (EPTP), which is managed by the Central Ohio Trauma Systems (COTS).”

Noggle said The EPTP establishes a course of actions for hospitals and public/private emergency medical services so that patients medical care needs are met, and healthcare partners, such as hospitals, share the load in periods of peak activity in the emergency healthcare system.

“It is ultimately intended to promote emergency department access to care for patients in Central Ohio when three or more adult Franklin County hospitals have currently declared a ‘Divert’ status to public and private EMS agencies,” he said.

“While it may seem that we are not considering your request to be transported to a specific hospital, the protocol may make your hospital unavailable for your transport. It will be up to you, the patient, to make the ultimate decision as to whether to be transported to one of the available hospitals.”

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