Recommendations for 911 PSAPs

  • Municipalities and local EMS authorities should coordinate with state and local public health, PSAPs and other emergency call centers to determine the need for modified caller queries about COVID-19.
  • Development of modified caller queries should be closely coordinated with an EMS medical director and informed by local, state and federal public health authorities, including the city or county health department(s), state health department(s) and the CDC.
  • PSAPs or Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) centers (as appropriate) should question callers and determine the possibility that this call concerns a person who may have signs or symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19.
  • More information: Guidance for Emergency Medical Services Systems and 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for COVID-19 in the United States

Preparation

  • Review your department’s exposure control plan.
  • Plan to meet or connect with local and state health departments to discuss policies, procedures and precautions in case COVID-19 becomes widespread.
  • Maintain an adequate supply of N-95 and surgical masks and monitor the availability of both masks with your medical supply vendor.
  • Routinely check the IAFF website for more information about COVID-19.

Potential Exposure

  • If you treat a patient who shows signs and symptoms addressed below, document potential exposures according to your exposure control plan.
  • Notify your infection control officer.
  • If you present signs and symptoms, immediately follow up with your healthcare provider and identify your exposure.

Protection

  • The CDC recommends N-95 or P100 with eye protection
    • N-95 and higher levels of respiratory protection require fit testing
    • Eye protection should be face shield or goggles
    • Surgical masks with plastic eye lenses are inappropriate PPE
  • If possible and tolerated, place a surgical mask on patients to minimize exposure
  • Use a clean, non-sterile, long-sleeved, fluid-resistant gown
  • Gloves
  • Use either single-use, disposable equipment or dedicated equipment to decontaminate. If equipment needs to be shared among patients, clean and disinfect between each patient using ethyl alcohol (70%) or bleach solution (ratio of ¼ cup of bleach in a gallon of water)
  • Hand washing
  • Minimize patient contact in poorly ventilated areas
  • Disinfect the ambulance with bleach solution
    • Routinely clean and disinfect patient-contact areas
  • For more information about PPE:

Decontaminating Gear and Equipment

  • Dispose of disposable respirator, respirator filters, gloves and other disposable equipment/supplies used at the scene as bio-hazardous waste.
  • If the turnout gear or station uniform is visibly contaminated by bodily fluid, it should be placed in a biohazard bag at the scene and washed following prescribed laundry procedures. Chlorinated bleach shall not be used with any fire fighter protective clothing. Fire departments should follow the decontamination guidelines in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Structural Fire Fighting Protective Ensembles.
  • Non-disposable respirators shall be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • For decontamination of non-disposable equipment, follow manufacturer and departmental standard operating procedures.
  • Vehicles used to transport persons suspected of having COVID-19 should be cleaned by staff wearing protective equipment, using a bleach solution as a disinfectant cleanser.