SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A lot of people are staying inside, but not everyone has that luxury as some are forced to work outdoors.
First responders tell Eyewitness News, they’ve never seen something like this before, but they train for anything, and the terrible air quality is a test they can handle.
It’s been two days since we’ve been stuck inside with smoky, hard-to-breathe air.
First responders from Pennsylvania Ambulance and the Luzerne County 911 Communication Center say they’ve never seen anything like it.
“I have been an EMS provider for over 25 years, and I have never in my career seen the poor air quality smoke so widespread in any area like it has been for the past two days here,” said Pennsylvania Ambulance Operations Manager Bruce Beauvais.
First responders believe they’re ready to treat this problem like any other emergency, and they’ve got the tools to prove it.
Proper equipment like KN-95 and N95 masks are always on board for the crew and patients to filter out the particulates in the air.
“As far as our response, it hasn’t changed us and how we respond in this environment at all. We still have personal protective equipment that can still get us through anything that we need to,” said Beauvais.
Beauvais said he’s gotten more fire alarm calls than normal, but since the smoke came down from Canada, they have not seen an increase in respiratory issues.
The bump up in call activity volume can also be said for the Luzerne County 911 Center.
“It definitely added about 20% call volume, so we typically handle about 1,000 calls a day, and yesterday, I looked a the statistics and we were close to 1,300 calls,” said Fred Rosencrans, 911 Executive Director for Luzerne County.
And Rosencrans wants everyone to remember, only call 911 if, and only if, it’s an emergency.
“Unless it’s a true emergency, don’t call 911. You calling about the smoke may be tying up a 911 line for somebody having a heart attack or a true emergency,” Rosencrans continued.
These restaurants say they are hopeful that these hazy days are almost past us and are planning to open up their outdoor areas as soon as possible.