HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Defense (DoD) is shining a light on the efforts of Navy Region Hawaii’s Federal Fire Department (FFD) in rendering aid to communities on Oahu.

Last December, more than 200 Oahu first responders were out of work because they were either infected with COVID-19 or following protocol to quarantine, according to the Federal Fire Department Hawaii. Navy Region Hawaii’s FFD helped fill this gap by providing emergency medical services.

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Last year, the omicron surge placed a strain on the Honolulu EMS. The case count spiked to over 5,000 a day during December and January, as the demand for ambulances also increased. With a staffing shortage, the EMS 911 ambulances were on pause.

Navy Region Hawaii’s FFD EMS responded to the call as a back-up ambulance provider. Their first responders, including paramedics and medical technicians, were also rendering aid. During this period, FFD EMS units responded to 55 mutual aid calls on Oahu, with seven being patients of critical cardiac arrest.

“Our FFD EMS units were handling higher than expected mutual aid request from Honolulu EMS during that time, and we were glad that Federal Fire Department Hawaii was able to assist the community,” Douglas Asano, FFD Hawaii assistant fire chief, told Naval Medical Forces Pacific.

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Asano added that this shows how increasingly important it is to have partnerships on the island.