FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KTXL) — California’s firefighters are used to answering the call to help fight wildfires at a moment’s notice.
Now, the state is turning to them again in the fight against the latest COVID-19 surge.
“We have been working since the 6th,” explained firefighter and paramedic Blake Dombrowski.
For the past week, Dombrowski and two of his colleagues from the Fairfield Fire Department have been helping out at Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City in Los Angeles.
Dombrowski said the COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles County is worse than he expected.
“We really didn’t know what we were signing up for,” Dombrowski told FOX40.
The team has been tasked with starting IVs, assisting with blood draws and moving patients, all in an effort to help exhausted hospital staff.
“Seems like they have been working long hours for quite some time and they were really happy to see us arrive,” he explained.
And even more help is being sent across the state.
Another Fairfield firefighter has been deployed to Petaluma. Three Vacaville firefighter/paramedics have also been sent to help at a hospital in Napa.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services says so far, 40 firefighter/EMTs and 58 firefighter/paramedics have been deployed statewide.
The assignments are 14 days long.
This is the first time any of the firefighters deployed to Los Angeles County have been on this mission.
“Coming down here and what we are experiencing here is patients come in and they are short of breath. And within a matter of hours, they are being put on ventilators and deteriorating very rapidly in comparison to what we’ve experienced in Northern California,” he said.
An official with Cal OES told FOX40 they are prepared for even more orders and will process them as they come in.