Napa Fire Department sends medical staff to Southern California hospitals to fight COVID-19 surge

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- The Napa Fire Department is sending medical staff to Southern California to help with the surge of COVID patients.

California's Office of Emergency Services put in a request for volunteers during the first week of January.

The medics will be pulling 12-hour shifts at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena for the next two weeks, said Fire Capt. Erik Mortimore.

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The Napa team being dispatched includes four EMTs and paramedics who will work at a Pasadena hospital.

All four workers had already received their first shots of a COVID-19 vaccine before the Office of Emergency Services put in the request for medical volunteers,

This occasion marks the first time the local fire department has sent medical help to another area in California.

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Robert Maitland, public information officer of the City of Mountain View Fire Department, joined ABC7 News at 3 p.m. to share about why some Bay Area firefighters and paramedics have gone down to help hospitals in Southern California as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Napa Fire Department battalion chief Charlie Rhodes explains the Napa contingent will help local nurses triage incoming patients and make medical assessments, along with a host of other tasks.

"They're doing various duties, doing I-Vs, working with patients, helping nurses in the E-R." Charlie Rhodes says.

The need for their help is great, as funeral homes and morgues are being overwhelmed with COVID victims in Southern California.

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Friday was Los Angeles County's deadliest day since the pandemic began in March.

Napa Fire Department officials say they are developing a protocol for how to handle these medical volunteers, and mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 when they arrive back home.

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