PFD trains against infectious diseases

PELHAM – Throughout the week of Oct. 2, firefighters and medics at the Pelham Fire Department went through infectious disease training. According to PFD Station Two Captain and Assistant Training Officer Everett Hazen, one PFD shift took a class on different infectious diseases and how to respond to them during two sessions on Monday, Oct. 2 and Thursday, Oct. 5.

“We’re learning about the recognition and mitigation of infectious diseases,” PFD fire medic Marc Hayes said.

“We’ve already trained for some infectious diseases, but this is more in-depth,” Hazen said.

During the sessions, Hazen said firefighters and medics learned about Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome, Middle East respiratory syndrome, Hepatitis C, tuberculosis and HIV. Hazen said they are focusing especially on Ebola.

“One thing we’ve learned is that there was an Ebola outbreak in Texas, and some nurses ended up getting infected,” Hazen said. “I don’t think that they had this kind of training.”

Hazen said the most important thing about handling an infectious disease is recognizing the signs and symptoms before it is too late.

“The problem with recognizing Ebola is that the signs and symptoms are just like the common cold,” Hazen said.

Hayes said the training will help the PFD have a better understanding of how to act if a Pelham resident were to become infected.

“It will prevent an isolated incident from becoming and epidemic or a pandemic,” Hayes said.

The PFD’s infectious disease training is sponsored by Deep South Biosafety, UAB Hospital, Alabama Fire College and Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System