MOLINE, Illinois — 9-1-1 dispatchers are now asking callers if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 before they send responders.
First responders are still responding to all calls, but will now be told if it is a potential COVID-19 call before they leave.
"Dispatchers have a certain criteria of 3 or 4 questions that they ask initially, then we have them asking these COVID-19 questions," Moline Fire Department Deputy Chief Travis Noyd said.
They used to ask these questions, but are now asking them sooner during emergent situations.
Dispatch will ask if you have a cough, fever, or shortness of breathe. If it is a potential coronavirus call, responders will wear goggles, gowns, and masks for themselves and the patient.
"Everybody is kind of on edge, but administration has given us the proper equipment to protect ourselves," Moline firefighter / paramedic Carson Cheesman said.
The Moline Fire Department is also limiting the number of responders who will enter a patient's home.
"They might ask the patient if you are able to meet EMS at the door, if you are able to do that," Noyd said. "If it's a life or death situation, obviously we are going to respond as we normally would. It's just those situations where we have time, we are going to take that time."
"We have done a good job of not getting too many people involved and just having the main paramedic go up and assess the situation from a safe distance," Cheesman said.
Since the "Shelter in Place" order has gone into effect in Illinois, the Moline Fire Department says they've seen less calls by about 50 calls per week.