Seattle firefighters wearing masks, gowns, and gloves to protect against the transmission of the new coronavirus, walk and stand near their engine after responding to a medical call in Seattle on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle firefighters wearing masks, gowns, and gloves to protect against the transmission of the new coronavirus, walk and stand near their engine after responding to a medical call in Seattle on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

First responders ask public to be honest if they’re sick

More than 80 Seattle fire fighters have been quarantined since the new coronavirus hit.

Martha Bellisle / Associated Press

SEATTLE — Fire fighters and first responders in Washington state are seeking donations of protective gear and ask the public to be honest about their symptoms when they call for help so that workers can prepare.

People are sometimes lying about their condition and failing to report a fever or cough when they call 911, fearing the medics won’t come.

Eastside Fire and Rescue in Issaquah is conducting a message campaign to let people know they will respond to calls for help regardless of the person’s symptoms, Capt. Steve Johnson said Monday.

“If we know you have symptoms, we can prepare to help stop the spread of the virus,” he said. “We have the protective gear so we’re not going to not respond to a call.”

Almost 5,000 people across Washington have tested positive for COVID-19 and about 200 have died. Projections say those numbers will rise in coming weeks.

Deaths in Washington state may reach 1,670 by August 4, according to a forecast by Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in several weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

State health officials have put out a call for help to collect everything from surgical masks to disposable thermometers and hand sanitizer to support health care workers, first responders and health care facilities.

More than 80 Seattle fire fighters have been quarantined since the new coronavirus hit, and they hope to stay supplied with protective gear. One fire fighter in Issaquah remains in quarantine, Johnson said.

“Seattle fire fighters are on the front lines of this pandemic and we depend on PPE to keep us and our patients safe,” Kenny Stuart, union president said on Facebook. They also are asking for donations of masks, gowns, gloves and eyewear.

Yakima fire fighters also need help.

“We currently have some N95 masks on hand,” Yakima Fire Chief Aaron Markham said on Facebook. “We are using them appropriately and sparingly.”

Kellie Stickney, spokeswoman for Kirkland, said 69 fire fighters and police officers have been in and out of quarantine since the beginning of the outbreak and seven fire fighters are currently in quarantine.

Kirkland fire department has a supply of protective gear, but they may need more if calls increase, she said. Models show hospitalizations are expected to peak in mid-April, and that would impact first responders, she said.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

State Sens, Ron Muzzall, R-Whidbey Island, left, Simon Sefzik, R-Ferndale, center left, Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, center right, and Chris Gildon, R-Puyallup, right, confer on the floor of the Senate during a recess, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
House passes pause to state’s long-term care program and tax

The measure would delay the tax until July 2023, and would refund any premiums collected before then.

In this photo taken May 17, 2017, wine barrels are shown at a vineyard adjacent to the Walla Walla Vintners winery in Walla Walla, Wash. The remote southeastern Washington town of Walla Walla - which used to be best known for sweet onions and as home of the state penitentiary - has now reinvented itself into a center of premium wines and wine tourism. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)
More sustainable Washington wines are on the way

Labels will indicate grape growers met guidelines in 9 areas, including water, pest and labor practices.

FILE - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, during a news conference in Seattle. In a 5-4 decision Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, the Washington Supreme Court upheld an $18 million campaign finance penalty against the Consumer Brands Association, formerly known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Ferguson sued the group in 2013, alleging that it spent $11 million to oppose a ballot initiative without registering as a political committee or disclosing the source of the money. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington justices uphold $18M fine in GMO-labeling case

Big grocers funneled dark money into a campaign against genetically modified labels on food packaging.

Section of a tsunami high ground map. (Island County)
Tsunami warning fizzled, but future threat to Whidbey is real

State and county officials have long warned about the possibility of a tsunami striking the island.

A sign bearing the corporate logo hangs in the window of a Starbucks open only to take-away customers in this photograph taken Monday, April 26, 2021, in southeast Denver.  Starbucks is no longer requiring its U.S. workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reversing a policy it announced earlier this month. The Seattle coffee giant says, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022,  it's responding to last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Starbucks nixes vaccine mandate after Supreme Court ruling

The move reverses a policy the coffee company announced earlier this month.

Marianne Edain and Steve Erickson of WEAN at their South Whidbey home in 2019. (Laura Guido / South Whidbey Record, file)
Whidbey environment group isn’t suing county for first time in 25 years

The impact WEAN founders have had on environmental policy in Island County is extensive.

Lawsuit: Washington’s new majority Latino district is a ‘facade’

The legal action targets state Legislative District 15 in Yakima.

FILE - Trees scorched by the Caldor Fire smolder in the Eldorado National Forest, Calif., Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. The Biden administration wants to thin more forests and use prescribed burns to reduce catastrophic wildfires as climate changes makes blazes more intense. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US plans $50B wildfire fight where forests meet suburbia

Blazes have wiped out communities in California, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Washington state.

Skiers make their way uphill under idle lift chairs at the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Area as fresh snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. Several inches of snow fell Wednesday, and the area shown was scheduled to open to skiers and begin lift operation later in the day. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Snoqualmie ski resort cuts some operations after losing power

For Monday skiing, the resort’s website said they have “less than a partial supply of energy.”

Most Read