Over 20 first responders gathered on Saturday, November 15 at the Station 4 Training Center in Cheyenne to prepare and respond accordingly when coming into contact with an Ebola patient.

According to a news release, Chris Thoms with Cheyenne Fire Rescue and Coordinator of the Hazmat Team for the Regional Emergency Response Team #7 (RERT7) instructed the group how to identify signs and symptoms while asking pertinent questions that would determine the probability of a patient having Ebola.

“The chance that someone in Laramie County will contract Ebola is very rare; however, we need to be prepared and properly trained on how to detect Ebola symptoms and stop the spread of the virus,” said Thoms. After a brief classroom discussion on Ebola, the class broke into groups of 3 to practice donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE). Thoms went on to say, “Once Ebola is suspected as the cause of illness, RERT7 will be dispatched to the scene. First responders will secure the scene; put on proper PPE and wait for assistance. This will reduce the chances of spreading the virus.”

Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians from American Medical Response (AMR), Cheyenne Fire Rescue, Laramie County Fire Districts 1, 2, 3, and 5 attended the training.

Cheyenne Fire & Rescue Fire Chief, Jim Martin, was impressed with the turnout, “It was great to see participation from 4 different fire districts and AMR. Coordinated training like this improves communication and efficiency amongst the organizations so we are prepared for any situation – it doesn’t have to be Ebola– it can be any type of infectious illness.”

RERT 7 is a group of highly trained individuals who specialize in Hazardous Materials, Technical Rescue or Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD). Region 7 includes Laramie, Platte and Goshen Counties.