Training underway to prepare EMT’s and Paramedics for Potential Coronavirus Case

Press Release
For Immediate Release                                                                                             
(Wednesday 4th March 2020)


Training underway to prepare EMT’s and Paramedics for Potential Coronavirus Case

National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) staff began Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training this week at the Public Hospitals Authority’s Training Centre as a part of the Ministry of Health and Public Hospitals Authority’s countrywide readiness campaign ahead of any possible threat of  Coronavirus.  The training prepares Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s)  and Paramedics to safely deal with a potential Coronavirus case as the protective equipment protects first responders from droplet and contact transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

NEMS Medical Director, Dr. Alvery Hanna confirmed, “at present there are no suspected, reported, or confirmed cases in the Bahamas; however, we want to ensure that our NEMS staff who are on the frontline of response to any emergency or illness, are prepared and protected.  As with any response by our NEMS teams, safety is always our priority, so we want to ensure that this training is done.”  The training is being provided by the Infection Protection & Control Team of the Public Hospitals Authority.

Guidelines for responding to a suspected Coronavirus call by emergency services were disseminated a month ago under the Bahamas National Plan for Coronavirus.  Dr. Hanna further advised, “NEMS staff will wear protective gear when responding to a suspected case of COVID-19 as determined by the presentation of upper respiratory symptoms including coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, and fever as well as the patient’s travel history or known contact with a coronavirus infected person.”

Protective equipment has been deployed to NEMS staff in Grand Bahama who will also receive PPE training.  Training will also be undertaken for Emergency Department staff at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Ministry of Health staff and public hospital clinical staff in New Providence and Grand Bahama. The PPE Training will  be ongoing as necessary.