Community comes together to help Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department
CARIBOU, Maine — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the state, the local community has come together to help the Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department through making several donations.
Thus far, the department has received almost 400 N95 masks and other personal protective equipment including safety glasses and 450 Tyvek suits. The donations came from businesses, organizations and residents alike, including Blaisdell Equipment, the Caribou Regional Technology Center, Craig McGlinn, Sullivan & Merritt Construction, Loring Industries, Jimmy Jones, Dale and Debbie St. Peter, Bill Landis, James Cushman, Shawn Dube, Alan Hunter, Angela King and Bob and Allyson Masse.
The donations came shortly after Caribou Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 5191 posted on social media about needing help with equipment during the Covid-19 outbreak, as the state of supply chains has currently left emergency response personnel throughout the country uncertain as to whether they could receive the materials they need.
In addition to the supply donations, DoDo’s Market, Reno’s Family Restaurant, Roger Jewell with a delivery from Big Cheese Pizza, have donated pizza to the city’s fire and ambulance department.
Caribou Fire and Ambulance Chief Scott Susi said he and the department are incredibly grateful for all the community support.
“The country’s overwhelmed right now,” said Susi. “We definitely didn’t have the supplies we needed to go forward, and we needed to do something while waiting for our allotted CDC shipment. And when the guys posted about it, the community really rallied around the department. It’s satisfying to know that the community has really come together to support us during this time.”
And in addition to keeping the community safe, the Caribou department recently donated PPE and laryngoscope kits to the Fort Fairfield Fire Department.
Susi said that while his department is in a tough position, it’s not different from what departments across the country are experiencing.
“We really go through our PPE, as we use one set per each patient, and dispatch centers let us know about that ahead of time,” he said. “Every emergency room up here has a different procedure for unloading patients, and supply lines alone to get medical supplies are being drastically slowed down, even for the supplies we get regularly.”
As a result, he said the department has been extremely conservative when using any supplies or materials.
And with 15 full-time paramedics on staff and a 14-day quarantine required for anyone exposed to the virus, he said they are especially concerned about preventing any staff from getting infected.
“We’re hoping it doesn’t come to that,” he said.
To prevent this from happening, the public is being asked to dial 911 in the event of any emergencies, as they have a screening process in place and will be able to notify Caribou if extra precautions are needed.
And while times are rough for everyone, the chief said he is not able to thank the public enough for its support.
“There’s been a lot of turmoil right now and to see that the community stands behind the department and the guys that work here has been really incredible for the morale of our entire staff,” he said. “We can’t thank the public enough. The guys here all feel the same way.”
In addition to calling 911 for any emergency, Susi said people can help by simply showing support for local firefighters and paramedics.
“Just support the department and we are always going to be here to support you,” he said.