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Important Information Regarding PPE, Emerging Infectious Diseases and Scene Safety

As caregivers, we are faced with many challenges. The most daunting of these challenges is the unknown and the disquiet that it causes. In the recent weeks, FAS has been sending you information regarding PPE, Emerging Infectious Diseases and Scene Safety. For the most part, this is refresher information for you. My goal is to keep you appropriately thinking about maintaining your safety, your partner’s safety and your patient’s safety; in that order.

The more you know about emerging infectious disease, the better prepared you are to handle complex situations. Information regarding Enterovirus D-68, MERV and EVD serve to only arm you with awareness. Your attention to three simple things - scene size-up, scene safety and the donning and doffing of personal protective equipment – are what will help you be safe and care for those who need you.

You will be receiving additional information over the next week regarding vehicle PPE and specific ID (infectious disease) patient handling. I urge you to review this information, ask as many questions as you need to ensure your comfort with the material.

Knowledge is power. The lay-public fall victim to the notion of the “worried well.” These are people who are not ill or injured but are worried that they could become ill or injured by mere proximity or rumored proximity to someone that is ill. We are not the worried-well. We are the prudently prepared and informed.

What are the steps that FAS has taken to ensure that folks are prepared and able to meet an ID challenge?
1) We have purchased PPE (Tyvek/Tychem suits) for every ambulance to accommodate every body size.
2) We have purchased N95 masks that are fit test to employees to ensure that you have the best protection possible.
3) We have confirmed our cache of PAPRs such that if we need to employ a greater respiratory response, we will have enough equipment to protect all FAS employees.
4) We are developing a protocol for the transportation of EVD suspect cases in both the IFT and emergency setting by focusing on vehicle and crew PPE (see attached *.jpg).
5) We will be holding PPE training for 100% of the field staff starting the week of 10/13. This one-hour class is designed to provide competency in the donning and doffing of PPE.
6) We are working with the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch and Medical Priority Dispatch Systems, we are upgrading our Emergency Medical Dispatch program to include the Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance Tool. This tool is to identify suspect cases early-on in the case entry such that responders are updated of suspect cases before arriving on scene.
7) We actively participate in both Statewide and International Public Health conference calls for the purposes of understanding the emerging crisis and developing a prudent best practices model.
8) We have worked with Partners Healthcare in the development of a transfer protocol for EVD-suspect and confirmed EVD patients that focuses on caregiver safety.

FAS is principled on people helping people. Our focus is caring for you and your safety. Part of this caring is providing you with educational opportunities and information. The following link is for a video of rounds conducted at Emory University Medical Center regarding Ebola Virus Disease.

Please let me know of any questions. We are committed to protecting you and the general public.