On February 28, we learned that more than 25 members were exposed and subsequently quarantined in Washington state in relation to calls they ran to the nursing home where it has been confirmed that the first death from the coronavirus occurred.
We encourage all members to refer to our Coronavirus resource for important information on preparedness and responding to infected individuals, including a new frequently asked questions (FAQs) section. Make sure your department is preparing and thinking through all of the issues necessary to protect you and the public when responding to potential coronavirus cases. These will be updated as new information is released.
Members under quarantine followed the proper protocols, including PPE precautions, based on the information from dispatch. Information provided to dispatch from the facility may not have been completely accurate.
As more cases of COVID-19 spread and develop with no apparent link to travel or contact with individuals who have traveled, emergency call centers will need to modify caller queries to rely less on questions regarding travel abroad and more on signs and symptoms, especially with shortness of breath.
The IAFF is actively monitoring the situation and continues to provide updates based on the most current recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We are also ensuring we meet the needs of our members who are quarantined due to possible exposure.
In addition to reviewing the signs and symptoms and standard precautions and protocols for response and exposure, we urge you to:
- Download and share our infographics on your social media platforms
- Inventory your available PPE and discuss a plan for ordering additional supplies with your providers to ensure availability even in the event of a pandemic
- Coordinate with state and local public health agencies, public safety access points (PSAPs) and other emergency call centers to determine the need for modified caller queries about COVID-19
- Set a reminder to check our website daily for updates