EXCLUSIVE: San Francisco Bay Area part-time EMT describes battling coronavirus on the front lines

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Thursday, April 2, 2020
EXCLUSIVE: EMT describes life on coronavirus front lines
As the novel coronavirus crisis continues, thousands of people are stepping up to Governor Gavin Newsom's call for healthcare workers to join the state. One of those women is a local part-time EMT who has been on the front lines during the pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Thousands of people are stepping up to Gov. Gavin Newsom's call for healthcare workers to join the state amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. One of those women is a local part-time EMT who has been on the front lines during the pandemic. She spoke exclusively with ABC7 reporter Melanie Woodrow.

Alison Crawford is a second generation first responder. Her father a retired fire captain.

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Two years ago, Crawford got certified as an EMT.

"I remember the moment I told him, he was just over the moon," said Crawford. "He was like, 'You've always had this in you, you've always been someone that's run towards people in need.'"

In addition to her full time job in tech, Crawford typically works one 12 hour shift a week.

"There's a level of intensity and a level of focus with my partners that I work with," she said.

Crawford says she is definitely in contact with people suspected of having the virus.

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"Anytime someone has flu-like symptoms, we treat them as if they have COVID-19," she explained.

Crawford recently witnessed doctors exiting a hospital to meet a patient brought in by ambulance outside. Something she says you don't typically see.

"That's a COVID case," said Crawford.

Her training now serving her well.

"One of the first things when we join is we have a mask fitted specifically for us where they put a hood over us and they spray really stinky stuff up the hood to see if the seal is correct," said Crawford.

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"We know how to properly seal it around our nose make sure that it's completely around our jaw line," she continued.

The decontamination process is just as meticulous.

"When I come home from my shift I strip down my clothes, I spray everything down, I keep a can of Lysol down there, spray down my boots and everything and I completely strip down, put on my robe, come upstairs and take a really calculated route to the shower," said Crawford.

She has to. She's protecting her husband and her almost 7-year-old daughter.

"Lucy. I can't say her name too loud because she's in bed now, she'll come running out," said Crawford.

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"She gets it she totally gets it and she's seen my dad's helmets," said Crawford. "She's seen the siren that we have. We have one of the fire sirens."

Understandably, Crawford's husband worries and sometimes she does, too.

"It's the down time, the in-between time, that's really kind of stressful kind of in the middle of the night if I hear him cough or I'm taking everyone's temperature just constantly," said Crawford.

"So I have three pretty intense full time jobs right now," she continued.

Home schooling mom, business professional and first responder.

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When ABC7 News asked Crawford why she does it, she responded, "When you are raised by a first responder your life is just different."

"My dad, he's my best friend and the hardest thing through all of this Melanie, is I haven't been able to see him," she said. "He's 73 years old. He gets bronchitis every single winter because he didn't have PPE in the fire department in the 70s and 80s and 90s."

Crawford recently answered Newsom's call for healthcare workers to join the state.

"Oh yeah, that's a no-brainer. I mean, especially after being quarantined with a kindergartner for three weeks. I was like you can just call me now," said Crawford.

She went on to say, "It felt good to put all my information in there as a Californian. I think, on behalf of all first responders, we're ready.".

She says they've been waiting and training for this moment, "We've got this and we're kind of all in it together."

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here