First Responders In Washoe Get Sci-Fi Looking Medical Equipment

Jul 20, 2016

Washoe County first responders are getting personal protective equipment, including isolation pods to help contain potential disease outbreaks.

Washoe County first responders are getting special equipment to help contain potential disease outbreaks. As Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports some have a bit of a science fiction quality to them.

Remember ET, the sci-fi blockbuster, from the '80s? There’s a dramatic scene of a seemingly lifeless ET lying in a medical isolation pod after he was nabbed by federal agents. His human BFF Elliott is by his side.


ET: "ET phone home."

Elliott: "Ahh haaaaa!"

ET: "Phone home. Phone home."

Elliott: "Does this mean they're coming?"

ET: "Yes."

Fast forward to now, in Washoe County, some law enforcement and medical agencies are receiving new isolation pods. They’re not so much for extra-terrestrials, but Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick says, the pods are “in the case of an infectious disease outbreak.”   

Dick says personal protective equipment, or PPE kits, include specialized N-95 masks, gloves and biohazard bags, among other items. As for the pods,

“The isolation pod is a plastic containerized system,” Dick says, “to transport an individual that we suspect has the infectious disease and to provide them with medical care while they’re in this pod.”

There are about half-a-dozen new pods. Federal funding for the equipment was originally intended to prep communities for an Ebola outbreak. But Dick says, they’re now being stockpiled for other potential outbreaks.