COVID-19 has swept across the world causing a lot of uncertainty and fear. Taking the proper precautions before and after an exposure could make all the difference. Before you put yourself at risk, make sure that inventory is taken on what PPE is heading out into the field. It is also important to have a procedure for removing the exposed PPE so there is no confusion when the time comes.
Here is what we recommend doing after exposure:
- If the PPE is contaminated or thought to have possibly been contaminated, exit the area and place all items into a bag immediately.
- If PPE is grossly contaminated, consider Preliminary Exposure Reduction (PER). Keep in mind, PER does not replace PPE sanitation and still needs to be done.
- Use a biohazard bag to contain and seal all contaminated PPE. Make sure to use one bag per firefighter.
- DON’T take the contaminated bag into the fire station.
- Send your gear to the nearest ISP facility. Label the bag with the department, name and serial numbers.
- Make sure proper PPE is donned before this next step! Before going into the fire station, submerge the bag with the gear still inside into a barrel containing an EPA-approved sanitizer. Follow the sanitizer instructions for the proper soak time.
- Remove the bag from the barrel and remove the liners from the outer shells and launder. Wash at a high temp (not to exceed 140 degrees).
- Dry gear as normal.
A few other helpful tips are to stay on air while operating in a contaminated area, remove respirator last, and wash and sanitize hands after leaving the area. For more information and procedures, checkout our COVID-19 resources page.