As the nation and the world reel with the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of first responders are a huge focus not only for the first responders and their families but also for the community in which they serve.
The CDC has released guidelines for all first responders and recommendations from how 911 operations takes the call to how to clean EMS transport vehicles after.
Summary of Key Changes for the EMS Guidance:
- Updated PPE recommendations for the care of patients with known or suspected COVID-19:
- Facemasks are an acceptable alternative until the supply chain is restored. Respirators should be prioritized for procedures that are likely to generate respiratory aerosols, which would pose the highest exposure risk to HCP.
- Eye protection, gown, and gloves continue to be recommended.
- If there are shortages of gowns, they should be prioritized for aerosol-generating procedures, care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated, and high-contact patient care activities that provide opportunities for transfer of pathogens to the hands and clothing of HCP.
- When the supply chain is restored, fit-tested EMS clinicians should return to use of respirators for patients with known or suspected COVID-19.
- Updated guidance about recommended EPA-registered disinfectants to include reference to a list now posted on the EPA website.
For the complete list of recommendations, visit the CDC website here.
US Fire Administration COVID-19 Resources for Fire and EMS
COVID-19 Safety Messaging in other languages
Coronavirus 101: What You Need To Know
Infectious Agents Exposure Reduction Training Check List
Coronavirus Resources for Fire Apparatus, Ambulances, PPE and Fire Stations – Fire Apparatus Magazine
Response Guideline to Potential Coronavirus Patients – FireEngineering.com
COVID-19: Make Infection Control a Priority – Fire Fighter Nation
EMS Education: Dealing with COVID-19 – Journal of Emergency Services
NFPA Offers Free Public Access to Codes to Help Manage COVID-19
COVID-19: What Allen, TX Fire Department is Doing*
Coronavirus Pandemic means “New Normal” for FDSs. Firefighters and EMS personnel across the country are adopting new tactics to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves from the deadly virus. Full article here on FireHouse.com.
With so much about COVID-19 and the pandemic still being learned every day, the next question is when an first responders return after being quarantined. While the final decision will depend on your specific department’s protocol, FireRescue1 posted an article discussing the issue here.
For live updates on COVID-19, visit the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center here.
*All links provided are meant as guidelines and suggestions. For specifics, please check with your local department officials.