AMFD Chief, Rob Burk, has shared this information provided by the Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC (FCABC). It is geared to first responders, but we can all learn from it:
The FCABC has received the attached documents from BCEHS Vice President of Medical Programs, Dr. William Dick.
Recent progression of the Ebola virus as a serious health threat, particularly in West Africa, has resulted in many organizations taking pro-active measures to develop and maintain intervention and response procedures for such an exposure within their region. In BC, the provincial health organizations have developed initial action protocols for persons who may be potential exposure victims, such as health care workers.
First Responders are an integral part of the health care system and are often the initial point of contact with patients in an emergency situation. As such, it is both prudent and vital that specific regard be given to preparing FR agencies to respond to incidents of highly infectious disease such as Ebola. Make no mistake, the actions and precautions contained within these documents have broad application for many potential infectious exposures such as SARS and the more serious influenza viruses.
The attached documents detail the current BCEHS recommended practice for BC First Responders, an Ebola Fact Sheet, as well as an FAQ document addressing many of the known concerns. These documents, as identified within each, are current as of October 17, 2014. However, as we have seen, the outbreak in Africa has evolved and reached closer to home in North America. The province is confident that the potential for exposure in BC is very low for all health care providers but nonetheless important response procedure information is valuable.
BCEHS is continuing to develop their capability and communication on this and other evolving issues. BCAS is likely going to establish specialized response resources for deployment incidents where Ebola, or other dangerous infectious diseases are potentially, or known to be, present. Further information will be forthcoming and the FCABC is maintaining constant contact with colleagues at BCEHS to ensure that first responders are amongst the very first to be provided important and relevant information.
The FCABC will be further researching this issue and will provide additional information to members as it becomes available. Again, it is very important to note that the Medical Director has the utmost confidence that the likelihood of an Ebola contact here is very remote at this time. Please ensure that your FRs are ALWAYS utilizing proper PPE and taking appropriate caution related to all blood or body fluid exposures. This is the single most important means of defense for them to prevent an exposure of any kind.
Click on the links below for more information: