Exactly one year ago, when COVID-19 first turned our world upside down, Metro Bethesda Rotary Club and the Washington, DC Rotary Club swiftly jumped into action. These two Clubs joined forces to raise funds and secure a COVID-19 Global Grant that provided over $50,000 to purchase PPE and other sanitizing equipment and supplies for local aid organizations. A substantial portion of this grant went to the Bethesda Chevy Chase (MD) Rescue Squad (BCCRS), which covers about 300,000 Montgomery County and NW DC residents. The objectives of this funding were to protect first responders, staff, volunteers, and patients from COVID-19 disease, and to reduce the opportunity for the spread of COVID-19 within rescue squad houses, ambulances, and hospitals. Now, a year later, we’re pleased to report on BCCRS’s investment and success in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
BCCRS Headquarters plus four other Battalion stations that operate medical transport units received equipment and supplies funded by the grant, including:
- Five (5) UV-C Equipment Sterilizers: 20” X 20” X 20” chambers designed to decontaminate equipment such as radios, computers, cell phones, etc. using high-intensity short wave ultraviolet light to destroy exposed surface DNA and bacteria
- Six (6) UV-C Surface Sterilizers: handheld sterilizers to use on surfaces with crevices such as dashboards and equipment closets, and large objects such as stretchers that don’t fit in the sterilizer unit
- Five (5) Chemical proportioners for disinfection/sanitization: to mix concentrated active ingredients used in cleaning supplies, bypassing shortages of ready to use cleaning supplies
- An assortment of germicidal chemicals: microbicides that were purchased specifically to address the project goals of keeping providers safe
- Seven (7) Electrostatic sprayers: quicker and more effective than using wipes for cleaning surfaces such as door handles, motorized stretchers, and wheelchairs
- 100+ Handheld Thermometers and a SEEK Thermal Infrared Thermal scanning system for scanning patients, BCCRS members, and visitors
- A wide variety of PPE, including gloves, masks, fluid-resistant gowns, and splash-resistant goggles
Best of all, in the over 20,000 calls that BCCRS responded to from March to December 2020, there were ZERO confirmed cases of transmission from a patient to an EMS provider at BCCRS. BCCRS was able to respond to 100% of the 911 calls they received, and every EMS provider on every call had sufficient PPE. What’s more, BCCRS had ZERO documented cases of COVID-19 transmission between members while at the station. BCCRS expects the sanitization and cleaning policies implemented for the station and ambulances since the start of the pandemic to remain in effect in the long term. We’re gratified that this Rotary Global Grant has helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.