Emergencies happen every day in firefighting and paramedic work. That’s old hat for the Milwaukee Fire Department.
In a time of unprecedented pandemic in the last century, whom better – in the view of Milwaukee Assistant Fire Chief Aaron Lipski – to depend on to help respond and lead a situation than people who do that work daily?
“Our role has become sort of a leadership role as we’re sharing our experiences with how to truly manage an emergency, albeit this one is not a burning building or a crashed car,” said Lipski on WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi Show.
“The ‘how you structure the response’ is something we are extremely familiar with and pretty darn good at. This is resulting in…a much more organized, focused and tangible response for the public.”
The in-person response to situations has had some protocol changes in order to protect first responders as well as the public.
“We are coming to work every day and we are continuing to provide all the emergency services or health care services that are needed, but on top of that, we’ve had to upstaff and up-equip and up-train to absorb this pandemic,” Lipski said.
“We do not put our membership at risk of becoming patients or victims of this, but also that we do not become vectors for further spreading as we move from 911 call to 911 call.”
Lipski explained that numerous “isolated” fire stains have specialized coronavirus-related units.
He says that more 911 calls are coming in for coronavirus-related concerns, so the Fire Department and Milwaukee Health Department have coordinated a joint call system.
“In an extremely close partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department’s Commissioner (Jeanette) Kowalik – her staff have been fantastic – we have co-joined their call-in center with our 911 dispatch center. Those protocols are being finalized as we speak, so that we do get a call that comes through the 911 system that is not a medical emergency but is rather an inquiry that is better suited for a nurse from the health department, we’ll be able to transfers those calls back and forth,” said Lipski.
“The entire goal here is to keep the system from collapsing. It does not take much to push any of these systems over their edge. Through proper planning and management, we are really hoping to forestall that.”