IEMS preps for potential Ebola cases

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – No cases of Ebola have been reported in Indiana but that doesn’t mean first responders aren’t ready.

24-Hour News 8 caught up with the Public Information Officer for the Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, who gave us an inside look at their preparations.

In a step by step demonstration, Carl Rochelle suited up to respond to a potential Ebola patient.

“So putting it on, our main concern is that we don’t want to tear or breach the suit,” said Rochelle.

It’s a process all of the first responders with IEMS have had to get very familiar with lately.

“Currently we’re in the continued planning and preparation phases,” said Rochelle.

With yet another case of Ebola confirmed in Texas, health officials in Indiana making sure they’re on the same page and ready.

“We are gathering the information from the guidelines the CDC has put out, gathering information from colleagues and partners all over the country,” said MESH Coalition CEO, Tim Stephens.

Meanwhile, the priority of IEMS is making sure personal protective equipment is stocked, ready to be put in their ambulances if needed.

“Someone positive with Ebola, the transfer is not airborne as some other diseases are, but more of a liquid so that’s what we want to keep off us, any type of bodily fluid including tears,” said Rochelle.

That means specialized liquid-safe suits, normally rarely ordered, are now flying from distributors shelves.

Rochelle says prices of the suits have spiked 400 percent in some cases and availability has sunk 60-70 percent.

Fortunately IEMS had an order in before prices shot up.

“We have more suits on the way and we do have a stronger suit that has more protection as far as liquids go,” said Rochelle.

Another line of defense for first responders is dispatch.

Rochelle says operators will ask every caller with flu like symptoms a series of questions like have they been to West Africa?

If there’s any chance, IEMS will suit up, to stay safe. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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