Developing a first responder policy for COVID-19 units
Last updated: April 3, 2020
With the creation of dedicated COVID-19 units the CDC is recommended that dedicated staff be assigned to these units as a measure to limit HCP exposure and conserve PPE. These “isolated” units can pose a concern for a response during an emergency.
ASHE recommends that health care organizations review their emergency and/or fire response policy and procedures due to the current pandemic situation and assure that the policy and procedures address responses to a COVID-19 unit. Items that should be considered to be added could be:
- Relocation of designated location to meet first responders during an emergency
- Escorting of first responders to the origin of the emergency
- During an actual event such as a fire items to be considered:
- Limiting the number of facility staff responding to the fire
- Providing of PPE and respiratory protection for responding facility staff.
- Note: First responders should use their assigned PPE in responding to the fire/emergency
- Access to the dedicated unit for first responders
- During a false alarm within a dedicated COVID-19 unit items to be considered:
- Limiting the number of facility staff and first responders responding to the false alarm to only those necessary to investigate and verify false alarm
- Providing appropriate PPE and respiratory protection for the limited staff and first responders
It is also recommended that health care organizations directly communicate with their local first responders in regards to changes to their facility and policy/procedure changes that impact first responders.
This document is provided by ASHE as a service to its members. The information provided may not apply to a reader’s specific situation and is not a substitute for application of the reader’s own independent judgment or the advice of a competent professional. ASHE does not make any guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this document. ASHE and the authors disclaim liability for personal injury, property damage, or other damages of any kind, whether special, indirect, consequential, or compensatory, that may result directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on this document.