This article originally appeared on NBC12.com
For the men and women that make up the squads at Richmond Ambulance Authority, it’s been a tough year – physically and mentally. While they spend their days worrying about the safety of patients, they also have to continually worry about the safety of their families once they’re off the clock.
In Governor Northam’s Thursday announcement regarding more COVID-19 restrictions, he highlighted frontline workers – many of them putting their own safety at risk by coming into contact with potentially infected people.
“We’re both mentally and physically drained, but we’re here for you all,” said Lt. Danielle Geronimo, the Assistant Field Operations Supervisor with Richmond Ambulance Authority.
Lt. Geronimo gave NBC12 crews an inside look of what’s become part of her squad’s daily arsenal, which includes gowns, goggles, gloves, n-95 masks, and respirators. She says the most recent surge has certainly kept these first responders on their toes.
“We are seeing it on the daily, and we are coming into contact with patients who do have COVID, so it’s really important that we are keeping ourselves safe to keep you all safe.”
But the sense of safety doesn’t stop once they leave the ambulance rigs. Men and women like Lt. Geronimo still have families to go home to, so they’re constantly taking the extra steps to protect their own.
“[We] have to think about being clean, taking off their uniforms before they enter the house. Making sure they’re showering and getting all the germs off, and it’s hard,” she said.
Despite all the hardships that come with working on the frontlines, RAA says they know it’s their duty, and encourage people to still reach out to them for help.