Fire departments team up to provide COVID-19 response

A volunteer crewmember with a new COVID-19 response unit for central Pinellas County sits in the back of a rescue vehicle specially equipped to prevent cross-contamination between patients and crew.

Clearwater, Largo and Safety Harbor fire departments have a new specialized COVID-19 response unit in service.

As of April 6, a dedicated three-person crew will respond to patients that have or are suspected to have the coronavirus throughout central Pinellas County.

The joint effort is intended to keep rescue units available and reduce exposure to employees.

Crewmembers will be in a rescue unit that is specially equipped to prevent cross-contamination of patients and crew, according to Clearwater Fire & Rescue. Much of the inside of the rear portion of the vehicle is covered in plastic.

The driver will remain with the vehicle and have no contact with the patient.

All crewmembers are volunteers and will work on a rotating schedule.