Kent-based Puget Sound Fire launched a COVID-19 mobile vaccination team on Thursday, Jan. 21 to serve people in adult family homes.
The program will begin with one unit, and will build to a total of four to six teams, staffed with firefighters, paramedics and nurses. The immediate goal is for each of the teams to vaccinate residents of four adult family homes each day, according to a Puget Sound Fire media release. Puget Sound Fire will partner with Public Health – Seattle & King County, King County Medic One and firefighters from across south county.
Adult family homes are licensed by the state Department of Social and Health Services and can have up to six non-related residents.
The program will initially serve adult family homes in Kent and will expand to include adult family homes in the rest of the Puget Sound Fire response area, including the cities of SeaTac, Covington, Maple Valley and unincorporated Fire Districts 37 and 43. The program will also expand to serve larger long-term care facilities in addition to adult family homes throughout south county.
“We have a duty to protect our seniors and most vulnerable populations, so I am proud to be getting these vaccinations to them as quickly as possible,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph who showed up at Fire Station 76, 20676 72nd Ave. S., to thank first responders and send off the first mobile vaccination strike team. “As supply is available, we will continue to expand our reach to ensure Kent residents are vaccinated so we can get our community back on track.”
The first team, consisting of a Puget Sound Fire nurse and a King County Medic One paramedic, visited two adult family homes on Jan. 21.
“Puget Sound Fire is proud to be a partner in protecting the wellness of the communities we serve,” Puget Sound Fire Chief Matt Morris said. “Today, that means COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, in addition to our traditional emergency response role. Our CARES program, employing nurses focused on community health and wellness, leaves us well positioned to meet this urgent need.”
Community Assistance, Referrals and Education Services (CARES) program, referred to as FDCARES, is a fire agency-based injury and illness prevention program. The program has been developed so that fire departments may assist community members with issues before an issue becomes an emergency.
Puget Sound Fire has helped lead the fight against COVID-19, establishing the first mass testing facility in south county. Transitioning to vaccine distribution is the next step in helping to improve the health and safety of communities.
“I am so thankful to Puget Sound Fire, the Department of Health and our frontline medical and public health professionals who are doing the hard work to keep our communities safe and healthy,” Ralph said. “We’re going to work as quickly as we can to put COVID-19 in the rear-view mirror.”
Kent City Council President Toni Troutner joined Ralph to help send off the first mobile unit.
“With the launch of mobile vaccination teams and our conversations with King County to open a high-volume vaccination site at the accesso ShoWare Center, we’re doing everything we can to get these vaccines out the door to protect Kent residents,” Troutner said.