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SEOEMS preparing for swine flu

Although there have been no cases of swine flu reported in Lawrence County, Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services officials are taking precautions anyway.

Eric Kuhn, SEOEMS executive director, said his agency’s policies and procedures are being modified to conform with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“The general public may notice differences in the way we respond to their emergency, beginning with a caller’s interaction with the SEOEMS emergency medical dispatcher after calling 911 and continuing through the emergency call,” Kuhn said.

SEOEMS dispatchers will attempt to screen callers for any symptoms of acute febrile respiratory illness.

Callers will be asked if they or someone at their location has had nasal congestion, cough, fever or other flu-like symptoms.

If the dispatcher suspects a caller is noting symptoms of acute febrile respiratory illness, they will advise the EMT’s and paramedics who go to care for the patient. SEOEMS personnel will also assess others at the scene to determine if they are showing signs of swine flu.

If it is determined there is any exposure to swine flu, emergency personnel may don protective gear.

Kuhn said his agency is monitoring the swine flu situation across the country and will change its response to accordingly.

There have been five cases reported in Ohio, 280 nationwide.