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8 fire and EMS agencies using social media to help flatten the curve

#StayHomeforUs, #AlwaysOpen and #HelpUsHelpYou are some of the hashtags being used to promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic


By Laura French

As shelter-in-place orders and other directives from government officials take effect, people across the country are adapting to a new normal of social distancing, working from home and, in some cases, temporarily closing up shop during the COVID-19 outbreak. Health officials say such measures are essential to help “flatten the curse,” keeping the number of disease cases at a manageable level, spread out over time.

But as we all know, first responders and healthcare workers simply cannot stay at home. They are on the front lines of the disease, responding to medical calls, transporting patients and providing treatment to those in need.

First responders and healthcare workers have taken to social media, pleading with the public to #StayHomeForUs to help flatten the curve. Images show first responders holding signs with messages like, “We stay here for you; you stay home for us.”

Following are some of these messages imploring the public to do their part to stem the spread of COVID-19:

1. Fallon Ambulance Services (Quincy, Mass.) wants to ‘go viral’ in a positive way

“Fallon Ambulance Service EMT & Paramedic professionals are depending on YOU to do your part in preventing the spread of COVID19/Coronavirus so that we can care for and transport those affected,” the Massachusetts ambulance service wrote on Facebook.

In a later post, the service asked their Facebook followers to help spread the message, saying, “Let’s make a better use of the term ‘going viral.’”

2. Spokane Fire Department (Spokane, Wash.) is geared up for a new normal

Using the hashtag #StayHomeForUs, Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer shared a photo on Twitter of the new protective gear residents may see firefighters wearing.

“The personal protective equipment is worn to protect both the responder and the public during this unprecedented time,” Schaeffer wrote. “Please stay healthy, use social distancing and stay home.”

3. RuralMed EMS (Farina, Ill.) highlights impact of PPE shortages

RuralMed EMS spread the #StayHomeforUs and #AlwaysOpen message with photos of personnel with handwritten signs, saying, “There is a SERIOUS lack of personal protection equipment for ALL healthcare workers and First Responders! It’s a lot safer for EVERYONE if you stay home and practice social distancing.”

The Facebook post also shows dispatchers and office staff doing their part by staying indoors, according to a comment by a RuralMed employee.

4. Akron Fire Department (Akron, Ohio) – “We can’t do this alone”

Akron Professional Firefighters Local 330 posted a photo on Twitter of a firefighter holding a sign saying “I came to work for you, please stay home for me.”

The union emphasized that everyone can do a part to help fight the pandemic.

“Let’s battle together, and win this,” the post read.

5. LifeNet EMS (Divisions in Texas, Ark. and Okla.) demonstrates social distancing

Along with signs reminding the public to stay home and “help us help you,” LifeNet EMS included some photos of providers keeping a safe distance from each other. The Instagram gallery also features LifeNet’s air ambulance providers.

“We are ready to help you if you need us. But we also want to remind you to #StayHomeForUs and do your part to help #FlattenTheCurve,” the service wrote in its caption.

6. Lisle-Woodridge Fire District (Lisle, Ill.) asks residents to protect firefighter families

Not only are firefighter-paramedics at risk from COVID-19 exposure – Lisle-Woodridge Fire District reminded the public to also think of their families as they work on the front lines of the crisis.

“Don’t be alarmed if you see firemedics wearing masks. It is for your protection and ours!” the agency added on Facebook.

7. Honolulu EMS (Honolulu, Hawaii) - children of providers say #StayHomeforUs

Honolulu EMS also highlighted family with the hashtag #StayHomeforUS.

“My Dad is at work for you #StayhomeforUS!” read a sign held by the child of one provider.

8. North Shore Fire Rescue (Brown Deer, Wis.) fire and EMS working side by side

This Wisconsin agency showed both its firefighters and EMS providers working together on the front lines, as well as standing together to share the simple message: “We’re here for you. Stay home for us.”

Additional COVID-19 news and resources

Urgent EMS needs for COVID-19 response

Interactive Timeline: The COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

CDC updates EMS, 911 guidance for COVID-19

What constitutes COVID-19 exposure and when to quarantine vs. isolate

COVID-19: Simple steps firefighters can implement today