With the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, the entire world has gone into a panic mode with things dwindling down quite rapidly. Online statistics demonstrate that so far 223,104 cases have been recorded and the death toll has gone upto 9149. Naturally, the situation all over the world has come under duress. While doctors and nurses are working tirelessly attending to patients, fire departments are also constantly on their toes responding to coronavirus cases in the local communities. The IAFC (International Association Of Fire Chiefs) Coronavirus Taskforce has recently developed a guide to identify key recommendations, best practices and considerations under such circumstances.
Here are few pointers from the guideline summarized below:
- Appropriate PPE: PPE is the Personal Protective Equipment that emergency personnel must wear before attending to crisis in order to protect themselves from potential infection. The PPE includes a facemask, ideally N95 masks. In case of shortage, one must atleast don a surgical mask. Others include Eye Protection to cover the front and side of the face and gloves/gowns in case of high-contact patient care activities.
- Decontamination of fire-stations: More than extra care must be taken to clean and purify fire stations with increasing frequency. Every nook and corner must be cleaned with appropriate disinfectant and appropriate instructions must be followed.
- Screening Protocol: Before attending to a crisis call, proper protocol must be placed to screen the patients without physical contact. Emergency respondents are given thorough training to identify symptoms and ask the right questions; whether they are experiencing flu-like symptoms and travel history, etc.
- Awareness: All firefighting employees must be thoroughly educated about the gravity of the situation and must be trained to keep their calm while attending to such crises.
- Mental Health: Situations like this often bring out vulnerability in people closely revolved around it. Mental health also goes for a toss. Hence, it must be ensured that panic won’t solve anything and if taken the right precautions, likelihood of infection is minimal. Confidence must be instilled in them for them to execute their duties without fear.
While firefighters and emergency personnels are doing the best they can, it is important for all the citizens to cooperate, adhere to rules and regulations and not monger unnecessary fear around the pandemic. We are all in this together and with the right steps, we can combat it sooner than we think.