Canby Fire District: Protecting and Serving, with Personal Protective Equipment

In a time when the coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of our daily lives, local first responders are determined to still provide the same level of service and emergency response that they always have. It just might look a little different.

Canby Fire District personnel are now wearing personal protective equipment, or PPE, to every medical call (which accounts for about 70 percent of their total calls). This includes gloves, gowns, face masks and eye protection.

Aurora Fire District Chief Joshua Williams says they are doing the same.

“AFD is using PPE on every incident where we have a patient,” Chief Williams says. “Medical, rescue and motor vehicle accidents. We are also well-supplied and ready.”

Todd Gary, a spokesman for Canby Fire, said the same protocols are in place for Molalla, Colton and other area fire protection districts.

“We all work under the same physician adviser,” he said. “He has been advising us as well as several other EMS advisers.”

The local COVID-19 response includes a unified command of Canby Fire, Canby Police Department and the City of Canby, activated through the Emergency Operations Center at the fire district’s headquarters on South Pine.

According to Canby Police Chief Bret Smith, his officers are not wearing masks or other PPE during routine patrol or when making contact with people who are non-symptomatic.

During medical calls, they would be required to don such equipment, but due to the scarcity of PPE, they are generally deferring to the primary medical personnel on scene (typically, Canby Fire).

Gary said the EOC has not received information on any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canby. The state’s epidemic reporting agency, Oregon Health Authority, has not been revealing information about positive cases beyond age range, gender and county of residence.

On Friday, the Canby Now Podcast confirmed that an employee at Willamette Egg Farms was diagnosed with COVID-19. It was the first confirmed case of the new coronavirus in the Canby area.

The employee followed all quarantine protocols, recovered and has since been cleared by the health department to return to work. Other staff who worked closely with the individual also self-quarantined for the recommended 14 days.

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