"Hopefully, it doesn't come here:" Preparing locally for Ebola
MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The threat of Ebola has everyone one edge, even our local heroes. In Milwaukee, the fire department is spending thousands of dollars to keep its workers, and patients safe from the virus.
There's a shift taking place inside the Milwaukee Fire Department, but it doesn't have anything to do with the hours on the clock.
"The world is a much smaller place than I thought it was before," said Lieutenant Linda Mattrisch, EMS Division.
It's a mentality shift, brought on after healthcare workers in Texas became infected with the Ebola virus.
EMS officials here, are adding extra layers of protection.
"Masks, hood, booties -- which are all contained in the suit," said Mattrisch.
In hopes of keeping Ebola from catching them off guard.
"If we were to get a suspected Ebola patient, or someone who we think might have it, we want to make sure when we do our portion in the EMS system, that we're not infecting other people along the way," said Daniel Berendt, Assistant Chief of EMS training and education.
For the last two weeks, Berendt has been assembling a local team to put a plan in place, just in case. That includes the items in what the department id dubbing "Bio Bags." Previously present in some department vehicles, now the gear will be distributed to all 32 engines, 14 trucks, and 12 paramedic units. Berendt says the cost, is worth it.
"I would say, for the city of Milwaukee, in terms of purchasing the correct equipment, it's probably under $5,000," said Berendt.
Even 911 dispatchers will be trained to ask certain questions that can lead operators to try and determine if it's a suspected case.
"A couple of years ago we had the H1N1. There's probably going to be something that comes along after this. This will just be good preparation for that," said Berendt.
A new way of thinking, to try and stop a threat in its tracks.
"Hopefully, it doesn't come here," said Berendt.
FOX6 News is told all workers will receive specific training about Ebola. That will take place at the end of the month.
The Assistant Chief tells FOX6 News, the CDC has deemed Milwaukee as a "low threat area," so again, these actions are just a precaution.