West Virginia 911 Centers adopt screening to protect First Responders

West Virginia 911 Centers adopt screening to protect First Responders

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s 911 centers are stepping up to limit the threat from COVID-19 for first responders.

Callers to 911 can now expect screening questions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These questions will come only after responders have been dispatched. The 911 operator will then ask if those responders must take additional protective measures to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

This screening won’t slow response times, but it will allow emergency personnel to put on personal protective equipment or take other precautions while en route.

“Our 911 Centers have a great responsibility to assist the public and protect first responders. While the added questions may seem somewhat burdensome, the overall goal is getting the public the help they need and ensuring the safety of those coming to help them,” said Dean Meadows, President of the West Virginia Emergency Management Council. “These additional questions will help slow the spread, flatten the curve and make West Virginia whole again.”

911 must remain available for emergencies. But there are other sources for information and help regarding COVID-19:

  • People with questions about possible symptoms or exposure should first contact their doctor, or their local health department.
  • WV 211 is available by dialing 211, texting the ZIP code to 898-211, or by visiting wv211.org.
  • For health or medical questions regarding COVID-19, there’s the West Virginia 24/7 hotline (800) 887-4304, and the website coronavirus.wv.gov.

This guidance was developed with the assistance of the West Virginia Emergency Management Council and the West Virginia Enhanced 911 Council.