Dear Decaturish – How you can help EMTs during the COVID-19 pandemicA hand painted sign in front of DeKalb county Fire Rescue Station 5 on Lawrenceville Highway in Tucker thanks first responders, April 25, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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First responders are vital to our community. Right now, a lot of their attention has been focused on taking coronavirus patients to hospitals and other such related tasks, especially in COVID red zones. But all this stress is taking a toll on them.
These dispatchers and EMTs are dealing with exposure to Covid-19 cases daily and traumatizing experiences. Now, to be fair, their job definition is traumatic, but this is a whole new level to many. A highly contagious virus is nothing to scoff at for anyone. Many EMTs are having to separate themselves from their families, as not to get them sick. And when a fellow coworker gets infected, their first thought is usually, “That could have been me.”
That said, what can we do to help?
Well, although many first responders regularly wear surgical masks, they’ve had to sacrifice the much safer N95 masks due to recent shortages, so donating spare ones is always a good option. In addition, you can help their families out (now often single-parented when the first responder parent self isolates) by donating or picking up groceries, or seeing what other errands you can run for them. Finally, although many large companies have had first responders discounts since before COVID struck, a small business owner might want to offer these discounts now, as an act of goodwill and thanks. Not only will this show appreciation to first responders, but it can also financially encourage them to stay in the line of duty when we need them so much.
If you don’t have the time or resources to do these things, however, you can always donate directly to institutions such as the First Responders Children’s Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, or show your appreciation with a quick post on social media. At a time when they help us so much, we must help them back.
– Zain Sidor
Editor’s note: The author is a Boy Scout and wrote this letter as a requirement for a merit badge.
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