Anthrax: Protective Clothing and Equipment
October 25, 2001
In response to a request from the IAFF, the CDC and
NIOSH have released interim recommendations for the
selection and use of protective clothing and equipment
when responding to suspected biologic agent incidents.
Their recommendations are as follows:
October 16, 2001
On October 11, 2001 the IAFF sent the following
letter to the National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health. NIOSH has acknowledged our letter and
is preparing a response and we will immediately notify
our members of their full response.
October 11, 2001
Kathleen M. Rest, Ph.D., M.P.A.
Dear Acting Director Rest:
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 dealt a staggering blow to the American people and the fire service in particular. As we have already seen, fire fighters and emergency medical personnel will be among the first victims of terrorist acts. It is now possible that biological agents have been used against American citizens in Florida. Emergency response personnel, our members, are again on the front lines of homeland defense.
On behalf of the 245,000 members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, we call on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to immediately issue interim guidelines for the selection and use personal protective clothing and equipment for fire fighters and other first responders at suspected biological agent incidents.
Our members are facing these threats today and they need answers today.
Harold A. Schaitberger
October 12, 2001
Mr. Harold A. Schaitberger
Dear Mr. Schaitberger:
On behalf of the National lnstitute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), I would like to extend my sincere condolences to you and your members for those heroic fire fighters who lost their lives in last month's tragedies. As you know, NIOSH has worked closely with fire fighters for many years and we greatly appreciate the personal risk you all take to protect and serve the public.
In response to your October 11 letter, please be assured that I fully appreciate the urgency of the need to ensure that fire fighters and other emergency responders are protected against the threat of biological and chemical agents of terrorism. Toward that goal, NIOSH is accelerating its schedule for issuing certification procedures for self-contained breathing apparatus, and is expediting the development of new certification procedures for cartridge-type respirators. NIOSH is committed to developing the appropriate respiratory protection standards as expeditiously as possible. This effort is a priority for us.
Also in an effort to address the urgent need now upon us, and as requested in your letter. NIOSH is drafting and will issue within the next few days interim guidelines for selection and use of personal protective equipment at suspected biological incidents. We appreciate the emergency nature of this need, and we are doing everything possible to expedite the completion of these guidelines.
Once again, thank you for the courageous efforts of the members of the fire service. We will do all that we can to assist in making sure that they are protected against the immediate threats they are now being called upon to face.
Kathleen M. Rest, Ph.D, M.P.A.