PATERSON, NJ - The sight of firefighters and EMTs in hazmat suits and masks in neighborhoods across Paterson is not a cause for alarm, Mayor Andre Sayegh said Thursday. “This is what preparation looks like,” Sayegh said with a cadre of first responders lined up behind him during a Facebook Live video.

Also speaking was Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott who advised residents of additional precautions his members are taking to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19, coronavirus.

First and foremost, he said, “the Paterson Fire Department is here for you,” adding that if a resident doesn’t need to be transported to a hospital immediately they should call their own doctor. If they are in distress, such as difficulty breathing, they should call 911.

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If they do call for a Paterson EMT they should expect to be asked “ a lot” questions, and, if an ambulance is required at their home they should try to meet responders at the front door where they will be escorted to the vehicle on foot, if possible.

“We are going to ask you questions from six feet away,” McDermott said, a reference to current social-distancing protocols.

“This should make it clear that this is not a hoax,” Sayegh said. “We are going to turn this around with the help of our fire department. Paterson is prepared.”

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