"We are prepared to deal with it:" Extra precautions to keep Ebola at bay

FOND DU LAC (WITI) -- The Ebola virus has dominated the headlines this past week, and as a result, health officials want you to know what they're doing to keep everyone safe.

While no confirmed or suspected cases have been reported in Wisconsin, there are steps being taken to keep the virus at bay.

Mandatory training just started last week for all members of the Fond du Lac Fire Department. It's an extra step, they think, that could help save lives.

"Even though the likelihood is minimal, we're always prepared for the worst case scenario," said Assitant Chief of EMS, Todd Janquart.

Janquart is making sure his staff is ready just in case. This week, all firefighters and paramedics in the department are being required to watch a video.

It's a medical director for the Atlanta Fire Department, giving comprehensive presentation on everything Ebola.

"So even if they are off duty, they can share correct information," said Janquart.

Knowledge may be power, but supplies will be the front line of protection.

"Booties and particulate filtration masks," Janquart said.

Like many departments throughout the country, Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue doesn't have enough hazmat suits and gear to battle a full-on outbreak.

"They're disposable. As we use them, we have to throw them away and purchase new ones," said Janquart.

It could cost the department $5,000 or more to get the supplies they need. That amount is on par with what Milwaukee EMS told FOX6 News, its department would need to spend when we visited last week.

"It's to keep us safe and it's to keep the public safe," said Janquart.

Governor Walker has even called on the Wisconsin National Guard to act as a back-up response unit in case mobilization efforts are required. Walker is even calling on the Federal Government to institute a commercial travel ban for affected countries in West Africa.

"We are prepared to deal with it," said Janquart.

So, how do paramedics know they are going to a patient suspected of Ebola? They're relying on 911 dispatchers who will now go through a series of prompts with patient before paramedics arrive.

It will help operators determine if the subject has possible symptoms.