By Kate Hunger
The Department of Emergency Health Science provides paramedic and EMT training for San Antonio Fire Department firefighters, but the department continues to be involved in the safety and continuing educations of first responders long after their training has ended.
The Sept. 6 report on KSAT focused on the impact of the opioid crisis on first responders and included an interview with David A. Miramontes, M.D., emergency health sciences assistant professor, and medical director of the San Antonio Fire Department.
First responders are most at risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens such as HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B, and respiratory pathogens such as tuberculosis and influenza, Dr. Miramontes said.
The San Antonio Fire Department's infection control officer is an EHS faculty member. The infection control program, which EHS also administers for the region, includes immunization both before training and on a regular schedule, as well as monitoring for tuberculosis, and responding to needle exposures around the clock, Dr. Miramontes said.
"Emergency Health Sciences helps our responders stay healthy regardless of the risks they may be exposed to," he said.
Paramedics and EMTs also participate in continuing education as part of the Emergency Health Science department contract with SAFD.