ESA adapts to COVID-19

ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) is prepared to continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and has put measures in place to further protect first responders and the Canberra community. 

ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said that the Canberra community can be reassured emergency services will not be interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Paramedics and firefighters will continue to support the community, working 24/7 to respond to calls for help,’ Commissioner Whelan said.

“What has changed are the processes and procedures in how we respond to manage the spread of COVID-19”.

“We are closely following the advice from ACT Health and will continue to adapt our processes to ensure the safety of our community and personnel.”

“ESA staff and volunteers are a well-trained, highly competent and flexible workforce that is prepared to adapt to emergency situations to ensure the safety of the community remains a priority.

“This was demonstrated during recent months as ESA successfully responded to the Orroral Valley Fire, Beard Fire and major hail and storm activity in the ACT.”

First responders are committed to taking measures to keep themselves and the community safe when responding to a potential COVID-19 incident, including;

  • ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) have existing protocols and actions in place to respond to infectious diseases as part of their business as usual. This includes responding to jobs wearing Personal Protection Clothing and Equipment (PPC & PPE) and routine cleaning of vehicles, which will continue to occur following potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R) firefighters will continue to assist ACTAS paramedics with medical incidents in accordance with current practice however they will not be treating patients with flulike symptoms to minimise exposure. ACTF&R will continue to wear PPC as a standard response to HAZMAT jobs.  
  • ACT State Emergency Service and ACT Rural Fire Service will limit social interactions for the time being, including training programs, community access to stations and units and volunteer recruitment.
  • All services will be undertaking routine cleaning of vehicles and stations and;
  • Community events and engagements have been postponed or rescheduled.

All ESA personnel and volunteers are being urged to follow advice from ACT Health, remain vigilant and maintain their personal hygiene and avoid close contact where possible.

For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic and where to seek medical attention visit health.act.gov.au. In a life-threatening emergency call Triple Zero (000).