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FCAM - General Postings

Posted on: March 13, 2020

FCAM Executive Board Update on COVID-19

Good Evening Chiefs,

The members of you Executive Board and Board of Directors have been in contact with State agencies over the past week via conference calls and in person meetings in order to bring greater guidance for you on various issues concerning the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

As part of that effort we sent a letter to Scott Cluett, OEMS Director seeking the following waivers:

  1. Waive requirements for standard equipment on select ambulances. Thus, allowing for services to dedicate stripped down ambulances to transport low level patients without the risk of contaminating non-related equipment and allowing for additional ambulances to be put in service.
  2. Waive requirements to transport with medical control approval to alternative facilities, i.e. testing or confinement centers.
  3. Waive requirement for ambulance drivers to allow for First Responders to operate in non-emergency mode to lessen the staffing requirements of EMTs and in preparations overall reduced personnel due to the virus.
  4. Delay in recertification requirements as training courses may be delayed or postponed due to COVID-19.
  5. For all ALS service allow for a PB waiver for expected personnel short falls.

Further, MA Dept. of Health was asked the following through Under Secretary Benincasa-Thorpe:

  • Exposure:
  • We need in writing from DPH the true definition of exposure. During the conference call it was said if you are in full PPE exposure is low, we need that in writing to assure our members.
  • Is there a decon procedure to remove PPE once a patient has been treated? – meaning prior to doffing the PPE should the member be sprayed down?
  • What is the proper PPE – provide a complete list.
  • 1st Responder testing – Priority testing for first responders who meet certain criteria for exposure. Meaning if a crew is exposed, what is the quarantine or if they are tested immediately will that solve our staffing issues. Our concern is we need to maintain staffing so we need immediate or priority testing for exposure. We need criteria set up to who gets tested and how long the down time is for those members before they can return to work if the test is negative.

Later today the Under Secretary reported the following:


Good afternoon Everyone,

I wanted to provide you with an update. The questions from our call this week were sent to DPH and to OEMS. I spoke to Scott Cluett about today and he addressed some of the questions.

  • Two EMS staff do not need to triage the patient – one can stay with the truck and the other with the patient. 
  • All the Waivers are being worked on between the legal departments – should be out soon
  • DPH has a check list of the appropriate PPE to be used for COVID-19 /that is attached
  • DPH advised that all First Responders to review the website however this is a fluid crisis therefore the guidance and best practices change accordingly

 The other technical questions are under review with DPH and will address them and provide a conference call to discuss.

 Below is the link to CDC /DPH

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-for-ems.html

I hope that this notice is helpful. Rest assured that the Executive Board and Board of Directors will continue to look out for the best interest of the Fire Service here in Massachusetts and will pass along pertinent information as we get it. Stay safe and healthy out there.

Dennis Condon

President


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