28
Sat, Nov

First responders discuss the daily stresses of battling COVID-19

LAPD Officer DeShon Andrews. Photo by Jason Lewis

Health

As a function of their jobs, first responders cannot distance themselves from the coronavirus, which puts them and their families at risk.

 

Tyri Williams
 

Tyri Williams- Firefighter/Paramedic with the Pasadena Fire Department:

I’m sitting in my Ambulance having transported a patient who could be COVID positive from a nursing home which now has had multiple COVID positive patients identified and I’ve noticed a few things today.

I’m stressed about coming to work. That is different. The men and women of the emergency rooms, hospitals, and nursing homes are, as is every first responder who is working during these times, feeling a higher level of stress whether they show it or not. Every member of the medical community who comes into contact with a COVID patient and every worker who comes into contact with someone who has come into contact with a COVID patient is has a higher stress level. This is different.

Those of us in the streets accept a certain level of risk that comes with what we do. This is different. Now we are confronted with the possibility that our coming to work endangers our families as well. THAT we didn’t sign up for. People on the front lines are trying to decide whether or not to even go home. Wondering if the person who just coughed will be the cause for them to stay away from their child/spouse/loved ones or worse a severe illness or their death or the deaths of their loved ones. This...is...different.

So please be kind and patient to your friends family and loved ones. This too will pass. But like I’ve said....

This is different.

 

 

DeShon Andrews- Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department:

Someone recently asked me what role the PD plays in dealing with the pandemic. Almost as if they were being dismissive.... I just laughed because that’s how I have been dealing with it. Crack a joke and keep it pushing.... But here is the real.... When I filled out that application..... When I toed the “Black Line” on day one of the academy, I knew what I was signing up for. I knew that every roll call could be my last. I accepted the fact that I had voluntarily signed a contract stating I would give my life to save the lives of others. I signed that contract.... My family didn’t.... Now everyday the thought of sleeping elsewhere enters my mind because I don’t want to bring home an invisible threat.... To what SHOULD be a safe haven for my family.... A family of asthmatics.....

We are herding the homeless to shelters because we know once they become infected, there will be no way to control where they go. They are nocturnal nomads that touch EVERYTHING. It would be impossible to trace and disinfect every surface they came in contact with. We are taking their temperature, putting them on buses, and transporting them. This is a 24hr operation.

In addition to the homeless operations, we are monitoring grocery stores and other essential businesses to ensure the safety of consumers. I won’t address why in this thread, but it has proven to be a necessary function.
To date over 3,000 Department employees have reported being exposed to COVID.

When I began this journey I was issued a 9MM, bullet proof vest, ballistic helmet, flashlight, baton, and raincoat.... I never thought in a million years the most important piece of equipment issued to me by the Department would be ONE N95 mask.... ONE!

I will continue to fight the good fight and put myself in harms way because that’s what I signed up for..... My family didn’t.... And it weighs heavy on me EVERYDAY.....