Important information from Watertown Fire Rescue:
Watertown Fire Rescue wants to update the residents of both Watertown and Codington County on some of our response guidelines. With the COVID outbreak, and its potential for spread to the residents of our community, we have made some significant changes to our procedures.
First of all, both of our stations are currently closed to the public until further notice. This includes all tours, sales people, and also delivery drivers. We have made arrangements to accept supply deliveries from couriers. We are also not able to accept any homemade food or baked goods until further notice. The sentiments are sincerely appreciated and we know you will understand.
Ambulance response procedures have of course changed as well. You will see much more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on our ambulance crews. This is for your protection first and foremost, and of course for our employees as well. You may notice some extra staffing on EMS calls. This is so we can have adequate help on every call and provide for you. Don’t be alarmed if you see a fire truck on scene for your medical call. While in extra PPE, we are still capable of providing the best necessary care possible, just as we have always done. Each and every call is different in one way or another, and we are working through this situation and adapting to changing times just like you are. This is a very fluid virus, the symptoms are different for everyone. Our ambulances are being thoroughly disinfected between each and every call, as they always have been.
On that note, these guidelines have been made public by the Governor’s office of the State of South Dakota.
* Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Cough, fever over 100.4 F, and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
* Call a health care provider if suffering symptoms in advance of a visit to a provider, and stay home if sick.
* Understand that those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, including those over age 60 and those suffering from respiratory or cardiac conditions, should take extra precautions and remain home if possible.
If you are simply running a low grade fever, have a cough, runny nose, or feel general lethargy (tired or groggy), and you feel as if you can care for yourself at home, please get in touch with your physician via phone. They can instruct you how to treat your symptoms. Do not simply look online for guidance, and remember there are some common everyday medications that can do more harm than good. Call your physician. Many normally healthy people are able to stay home and treat their symptoms with rest.
Underlying or pre-existing medical conditions are a whole different story. Again, do not look online for guidance. Call your healthcare providers before you get sick. Have a plan, know your body, and be prepared to list your medications while you are on the phone. Many of them, as well as their staff, are simply getting over run with people calling. Be patient! They will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or any chest or cardiac pain, call 911. Again, most COVID-19 symptoms are able to be treated at home, after a doctor or healthcare provider has instructed you to do so via phone.
Lastly, in these long days of home schooling and isolation, we would like to announce a special birthday gift from WFR. If your Pre-K through High School child has an April or May birthday we want to be a part of it. This will include a fire truck visiting your house with lights and sirens, wishing your child a happy birthday! We will let the whole neighborhood know it’s your child’s special day. WFR wants to help your children celebrate their “at home birthday parties”! Unfortunately this will NOT include a ride on a fire truck, but it’s the next best thing! We will not be exiting the truck, or allowing anyone inside it at this time, but we think this will brighten their day regardless! Contact information for these visits will follow. Get in touch and we will do our best to make it happen.
Chad Fischer, Lieutenant, WFR
One final note. Stay safe, stay positive, and please be kind to your friends and neighbors during this difficult time. These days aren’t easy on any of us. If you can help your wonderful community, please do so. Check on an elderly neighbor.
These are unchartered waters for many, and there is a lot of uncertainty. Keep your heads up, this too shall pass! Wash your hands, teach your children to properly do the same! Thank you, WFR