The IAFC is continuing to monitor the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) inside the United States. As your agency likely is preparing to care for potential patients and protect firefighters and EMS personnel from exposures, please know that the IAFC stands with you and is ready to help.
In addition to continuously updating the Coronavirus resources page, the IAFC Coronavirus Task Force held their first meeting last week. Over the next few months, the Task Force will be monitoring COVID-19 and developing recommendations for ways that fire departments can protect their members while continuing to serve their communities. The IAFC would like to thank the following individuals for offering their expertise and representing their internal IAFC components:
- Fire Chief John Sinclair, Chair, IAFC President 2016-2017
- Dr. James Augustine, MD, FACEP; IAFC EMS Section
- Fire Chief Norvin Collins; IAFC Volunteer and Combination Officers Section
- Fire Chief Mike Duyck, Ret.; Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association
- Assistant Chief Jo-Ann Lorber; IAFC Emergency Management Committee
- Fire Chief Dan Munsey; IAFC Technology Council
- Assistant Chief Nick Perkins; IAFC Safety, Health, and Survival Section
- Assistant Chief Bob Royall; IAFC Hazardous Materials Committee
- Mr. Richard Patrick; U.S. Fire Administration
- Dr. Jon Krohmer, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Representatives from the International Association of Fire Fighters, American Medical Response, and a private medical supplies manufacturer
This Task Force is pleased to release a e-guidebook (PDF)] to assist fire chiefs in planning for and responding to COVID-19 issues. The guidance document contains specific recommendations related to developing dispatch protocols, selecting and using appropriate personal protective equipment, implementing decontamination procedures, and creating pre-plans for quarantining and isolating first responders. In the coming weeks, the Task Force also plans to continue updating these recommendations as well as analyze issues related to medical surge capacity, medical supply chain, drug shortages, and other issues.
In addition to reviewing the Task Force’s summaries, the IAFC strongly encourages all for chiefs to closely follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for EMS system and public safety answering points and other resources posted on the IAFC Coronavirus resources page. Please do not hesitate to contact the IAFC if you have any questions, concerns, or recommendations.
As always, please remind your personnel to stay safe and err on the side of caution when caring for known or suspected COVID-19 patients.
John Sinclair, chief of the Kittitas Valley (Washington) Fire and Rescue, is past president of the IAFC (2016-2017). He has served in the fire and emergency service for over 40 year and is a member of the IAFC for over 25 years.