SAN JOSE (KPIX) – First responders and essential medical service workers in Santa Clara County are getting a new safeguard against the coronavirus.

They now have a place to quickly decontaminate, if they think they may have been exposed to the deadly virus on the job.

“We respond, we respond quickly and we never really know what we’re walking into so the risks really are great, especially with the spread of the virus,” said Santa Clara Co. Sheriff Laurie Smith.

She set up the new decontamination station at the department’s Richey Training Center at 155 W. Hedding St., in San Jose.

Sheriff Smith said a dozen of her personnel have been infected with the coronavirus, which prompted her to create the unit.

“Twelve in one agency is a big number, we have a difficult job,” said Smith.

First responders who might be exposed to the virus will park in specially marked parking spaces where their vehicles will be cleaned.

Then, they will secure their weapons and step into a tented area called a ‘decon staging area.’
The cleansing process begins at the bottom. Responders will step into tubs filled with a bleach and water solution first, then they remove their boots and place them into bags.

Next, they’re given spray bottles to decontaminate their gear, such as radios and body cameras.

Then it’s on to private shower trailers and a three step process of stripping down, showering, and then re-dressing in clean clothes all in separate stalls.

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