Los Angeles County Firefighters IAFF Local 1014
Representing over 3200 Firefighters, Paramedics, Dispatchers,
Pilots, Wildland Firefighters, Forestry and Health Haz Mat Personnel
Brothers and Sisters,
This week we have seen a rapid change in the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the local response to this health crisis. Los Angeles County has declared a Local State of Emergency and the World Health Organization has declared it a global pandemic. At every level of government, we are seeing restrictions in order to stop the spread until a vaccine is developed.
As first responders, we are on the frontline of this health crisis. Your Union, together with the Department, is committed to ensuring our members remain safe and healthy as we attend to the public and provide medical care to those who need it.
Local 1014 has met with every member of the Department's Executive Staff to ensure that we have a comprehensive protection plan for our members. We are in constant contact working with Dr. Kazan our LA County Medical Director and a man who we can trust in helping to interpret and apply the guidelines and best practices for protecting our members. We want to provide our members with the safest possible working environment. The response to this pandemic is rapidly changing. Your Union together with the Department is remaining vigilant as we adapt to guidelines and regulations dictated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and LA County Department of Public Health.
We are the frontline medical care for our LA County communities. In order to ensure that we can continue to provide the best service to our residents, we all need to take these precautions very seriously. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard of preventative measures in order to be able to continue to serve our communities.
We understand that members are concerned with the current protocol if exposed to the virus to self-quarantine at home. This is the precaution dictated by the Department of Public Health. If for some reason you have been exposed but need accommodations please call the Union and will work with you. We are in contact with other affiliate Unions in the CPF and with Cal Chiefs to determine best practices and consider standardized core response adapted to each Department’s needs.
We have paid leave for any quarantine time and we are working with the Fire Chief to explore “I” status while on quarantine. The possibility of exposure in our homes is also being evaluated and likely with homes that have older family members 80 plus or small infants or family members with existing medical conditions then we will work to help the members find alternative environments to quarantine. We are exploring the Camps, Stations, and other such buildings, but we also don’t want to create an environment where we actually spread the virus from one individual to many others in our workforce. Please read all the material, and understand it. Cover this with your crew in the morning at line-up and take it seriously as you prepare to carry out your jobs. There is no reason to panic, but please give this professional and diligent consideration as you work.
Please read the safety information below and take these precautions very seriously both in the field and at home.
Important things to remember:
- Get a mask on every patient immediately, wipe down and clean all surfaces immediately after every call.
- Fully review the text of all dispatched calls, including what may be on page 2. Our dispatchers are doing a thorough interrogation of all callers and flagging potential COVID-19 cases so it is imperative that personnel review that information before charging in but recognize it is only one tool and not all potential cases will be flagged.
- Members should exercise appropriate precautions when responding to any patient with signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection.
- Initial assessment should begin from a distance of at least 6 feet from the patient, if possible.
- Patients suspected to have COVID-19 should be covered with a surgical mask immediately.
- During transport, limit the number of personnel in the patient compartment to essential personnel to minimize possible exposures.
- Large droplet spread is the most significant factor in the transmission of COVID-19.
- High exposure risk procedure such as intubation, suctioning ventilation, nebulizer, etc which may produce vapor, may increase risk of large droplet exposure
- The use of proper PPE (N95 for rescuers, a surgical mask for PT, gown, goggles, and gloves) will effectively prevent the transmission of COVID-19
- Continue to re-enforce the importance and use of proper PPE as well as PPE conservation due to the international run on supplies.
- Hand sanitizers/wipes are a good intermediary measure when hand washing is not possible but hands washing with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds should occur as soon as possible.
- Additionally, all equipment should be thoroughly cleansed utilizing purple or grey top wipes; note the surface needs to stay moist for 2 minutes (purple top) or 3 minutes (grey top) for effective
**All members need to thoroughly review and understand EA-99 and the attached COVID-19 Field Operations Guide. Copies of the guide have been pushed to all iPad EPCR’s and printed copies shall be carried by Panasonic EPCR users. Make copies for all apparatus.**
Please review the attached COVID-19 Feild Guide for First Responders distributed by the Department.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Clayton Kazan, Medical Director, Emergency Medical Services Bureau, at (323) 267-7153, or via email at email@example.com. If urgent contact is needed, please contact the Dispatch Supervisor at (323) 881-6183, and request Dr. Kazan to be contacted.
Stay safe out there, take care of each other and remember to use the proper Personal Protective Equipment at all times.
President Dave Gillotte and the Local 1014 Executive Board