CRESTVIEW — Local and state emergency services officials say they are prepared for Ebola's potential threat.


CRESTVIEW — Local and state emergency services officials say they are prepared for Ebola's potential threat.



FIRE DEPARTMENT



Ebola's infectious, often fatal symptoms include internal bleeding and fever. At least one U.S. resident has died from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



The Crestview Fire Department regularly receives the CDC's preparation tips and recommendations for dealing with the disease, Fire Chief Joe Traylor said.



Staffers' tablets have apps that inform them of Ebola's symptoms and how to handle each case.



In addition, firefighters have protective gear for encountering biohazardous materials or blood-borne pathogens. Each department response truck has at least one protective suit, Traylor said.



HOSPITAL



David Fuller, North Okaloosa Medical Center's CEO, said the hospital can handle Ebola's threat.



“We deal with (infectious diseases) every day, like influenza,” he said. “We use infection control practices, everything from masks to isolation techniques.”



Testing for the Ebola  virus could take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, and the state health department and CDC would verify results, he said.



EMERGENCY SERVICES



Okaloosa EMS Chief Tracey Vause said first responders' reliance on CDC updates shows the significance of avoiding surprises.



“This has made me realize the importance of maintaining a high level of preparedness,” Vause said.  



The county's 18-member Infectious Disease Transport Team would activate for the Ebola virus, or other dangerous threats — like anthrax exposure or a case of the avian influenza. 



STATE



Gov. Rick Scott's office recently announced that any Florida resident who has returned or plans to return from CDC designated Ebola-affected areas must receive mandatory health monitoring.



On Oct. 18, the governor’s office announced that the CDC agreed to the state’s request to enhance Ebola preparedness with an informative conference call for state hospitals.



The center will also redirect more than $7 million in federal grants for purchasing equipment and supplies for healthcare workers who encounter Ebola.



Email News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown, follow him on Twitter or call 850-682-6524.