The Santa Barbara County Fire Department announced Tuesday that emergency response will continue with some added safety protocols due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
All county fire stations continue to be fully staffed and available to respond to any emergencies that occur throughout the community. First responders have begun instituting enhanced personal protective equipment, as well as the following measures:
- Maintaining six feet of distance for initial assessment, when possible.
- Wearing enhanced personal protective equipment on calls of suspected respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.
- Placing a mask on the patient, when possible.
- Establishing an “Isolation and Quarantine Contingency Plan” for the safety of fire department personnel.
The department’s Planning and Engineering and Inspection Services sections will also have altered protocols, which includes virtual inspections at all large facilities and reviewing Fire Protection Certificates remotely. The Solvang operations office will also be closed to the public, but available for phone calls and scheduled appointments, authorities said.
All county fire stations will be closed to the public. Notices will be posted on the front door of each station, directing visitors to call the station to conduct business. An exception to the closure will be made for any medical emergency that would require members of the public to enter a station for treatment. Fire stations will remain available for the “Safe Surrender” program, in which a mother or person with lawful custody can bring an unwanted baby three days old or younger to any hospital or fire station in Santa Barbara County without fear of prosecution for child abandonment.
Effective immediately all engine company business safety inspections will be discontinued until further notice.
All personnel, both in the stations and office positions, are practicing social distancing. Conference call or Skype sessions are being used in place of in-person meetings.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department headquarters will remain operational during normal business hours. To contact staff, call the general headquarters at 805-681-5500, Solvang operations at 805-686-5077 or visit www.sbcfire.com.