FDNY dispatchers forbidden from saying ‘Ebola’ on radio
Officials instructed all personnel to use more vague terms when discussing the deadly disease
NEW YORK — City officials are so worried about causing widespread Ebola panic that 911 dispatchers have been forbidden from the dropping any “E-bombs” over the radios.
NY Post reported that an FDNY memo instructed all personnel to use more vague terms when discussing the deadly disease.
“At no point shall a dispatcher transmit over the radio any message containing the word ‘Ebola’ or related terminology,” according to the memo.
Dispatchers instead must use the code letters “F/T,” as in fever/travel, to indicate that a 911 caller has a fever and history of travel to West Africa.
“Engine XXX, utilize Universal Precautions — you are responding to a F/T incident,” dispatchers are now ordered to say.
The directive is meant to minimize fear of a citywide outbreak since emergency radio channels are monitored by members of the media, according to the report.
“Just like you can’t say bomb on an airplane, we can’t say Ebola,” a source said.
The disease has killed one man in Dallas, and two nurses who treated him contracted the disease despite taking precautionary measures.
FDNY medics who respond to at-risk patients have been told to wear polyethylene-coated paper gowns, gloves and face masks with plastic eye visors, officials said.
“We have now had about 133 calls since July concerning patients with possible Ebola symptoms,” Dr. Jay K. Varma, deputy commissioner of the department, said. “And all 133 are false alarms.”