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EBOLA vs FIREFIGHTING - Safety Logic

I’ve heard recently that we have nothing to fear as responders when heading out to a person sick or in a few cases even being dispatched to a “possible Ebola patient". We have nothing to fear because hepatitis is more of a risk and our universal precautions are enough to protect us from this recent threat. I am definitely not an expert in this area but find it ironic that some of the same individuals telling the members that “it’s perfectly safe” to wear a paper gown, latex gloves and N95 mask and some goggles to handle an Ebola incident were just telling us a few days ago that we should go defensive on all structure fires despite our $2000 bunker gear, $8000 SCBA, $10,000 thermal imaging camera, $425,000 (1500 gpm) pumper delivering 180 gpm through a $1000 worth of hose and $600 nozzle. But we are perfectly safe in $30 worth of EMS gowns on a virus with 50-90% death rate.

Where are the safety police saying “hold up here boys”. Maybe we should go defensive until we have a better size up, a strategy, the right equipment and training. Sending out an informative email from the CDC or the IAFC is great info but it’s not a response plan for your members.

PS Our guys can safely (minimized risk in a high risk environment) make interior attacks with the above mentioned PPE, proper training, and leadership. Who knows, they might even make a rescue. But do we really know what we are sending our guys into with a paper gown?

 

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