Medical, emergency responders receive training on handling Ebola virus

Hospitals and parishes in Baton Rouge area receive Ebola virus response training

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Emergency workers are learning the procedures established by the Centers for Disease Control regarding how to respond to the Ebola virus.

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden said Baton Rouge is prepared to handle the threat of Ebola. But first responders met on Monday to make sure everyone follows the same response method.

The Ebola virus may not have reached Baton Rouge. but emergency workers are researching every possible avenue one could imagine in responding to a possible call. More than 300 people gathered at the Baton Rouge River Center to learn how to handle a patient with symptoms, where to bring them, and how to protect themselves.

The tabletop discussion was hosted by the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the mayor.

"Once that dispatcher gets the information in, that person has to make sure he's passing on the correct information because everybody reacts to what they are told," Holden said.

Responders are putting that protocol to practice too. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is tasked with making sure responders know how to protect themselves and their equipment. The lessons are especially important to volunteer firefighters who often times do not respond to emergencies around the clock.

"It's always in the back of your mind. It's something to think about," Central Firefighter Derek Glover said.

Glover said the Central Fire Department stocked up on an estimated $2,000 in gauze, gloves, gowns, and respirators. The department's Haz Mat trailer and fire trucks are packed with equipment recommended by the CDC to respond to viruses.

"We're learning through in-service training and the CDC. Things are changing on a daily basis so we are just keeping up with the changes, and if anything new comes out we are letting our personnel know," Glover said.

Keeping the lines of communication open between local and state agencies Holden said is the best way to make sure every responder follows the same procedures.

"We're still navigating some rough waters, but I'm very confident that people are getting the information they need," Holden said.

GOHSEP plans to shoot an Ebola response training video this week. It will be sent to first responders across the state.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.