NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC –The Wilmington Fire Department (WFD) and New Hanover County Fire Rescue (NHCFR) are working with the county’s Health and Human Services’ Public Health Department to implement two-person strike teams to support the county’s mass vaccination outreach efforts.
These strike teams began last week with NHCFR firefighters vaccinating home-bound seniors, and – starting this week – both agencies are working Monday through Friday for the next several weeks to visit elderly homebound residents. WFD will focus on seniors in the City of Wilmington and NHCFR will focus on seniors throughout the county.
During these visits, firefighters will be administering COVID-19 vaccine doses to the individuals and staying for the 15-minute monitoring period to watch for any adverse reactions. With the permission of the residents, the firefighters will be performing brief, visual home safety assessments, to include testing and installing smoke alarms.
“This is a great example of how WFD plays an important role in the community besides fighting fires and emergency response,” said Fire Chief Buddy Martinette. “We’re excited to be able to assist in the vaccination efforts while tying in the life-saving work of home safety visits, risk reduction, and hazard mitigation.”
“I am proud of our team and our collaboration to reach these seniors who wouldn’t otherwise have easy access to the vaccine,” said NHCFR Chief Donnie Hall. “NHCFR does more than just fight fires; we respond any time it is needed. And that’s what we are doing in this effort today – we are responding to the needs in our community and serving people where they are.”
These strike team appointments are being coordinated through the county’s Health and Human Services Agency in coordination with the county’s Special Needs Registry and Senior Resource Center’s Home Delivered Meals Program. By the end of this week, 60 home-bound seniors will be vaccinated with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through this effort, with additional appointments to be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Residents with questions about the vaccine can call the New Hanover County Coronavirus Call Center at (910) 798-6800.