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  • PPE & Anthrax

    With all of the anthrax calls going on throughout the nation what does you department do for personal protective equipment. I am mainly interested in first arriving companies and not Hazmat teams.

    My department still hasn't issued any new training or PPE's for this new threat. So far we have been lucky with all of our scares not being anthrax. But as Murphy's law would go, it will probably be me that gets it.

    Stay say out there and stay focused

  • #2
    Your department should have a policy for blood borne pathogens. This is a biological hazard too. Anthrax just doesn't have to stay damp to stay alive. Standard body substance isolation is effective on anthrax. HEPA mask, gloves at the very minimum. hand washing is very important as it is with any bio-hazard. hope this helps

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    • #3
      I concur with jmichael.

      One, um, "nice" thing about the Anthrax scares/hoaxes/incidents is the "victims" are still able to move and follow directions -- such as to wash their face & hands and walk into an isolation area. First-responder fire service shouldn't be handling the "suspicious" materials if they're truly suspicious (a white, soapy material in your local laundromat is not Anthrax...a letter saying "Congratulations. Are you up to date on your shots?" is suspicious.) For that level of exposure, standard Body-Substance Isolation is fine.

      I'd also encourage in my department such incidents we wear our long-sleeve Ambulance jumpsuits -- they're a lot easier to decon than bunker gear, and normal BSI situations is why we issue them anyway.

      Once the circumstances are deemed truly suspicious, it's a haz-mat incident at that point. Because even if the letter says "Congrats, you've been exposed to Anthrax" you don't know if it's corn starch, Anthrax, or methyl-ethyl bad stuff. Connecticut's State Department of Public Health laboratories put out a directive this past week that it will only accept samples for testing from the State Police Emergency Services Unit, State DEP Haz-Mat Unit, and FBI -- to ensure that what their testing for Anthrax had already been screened for other chemicals & explosives.
      IACOJ Canine Officer
      20/50

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dalmation90
        Once the circumstances are deemed truly suspicious, it's a haz-mat incident at that point. Because even if the letter says "Congrats, you've been exposed to Anthrax" you don't know if it's corn starch, Anthrax, or methyl-ethyl bad stuff. Connecticut's State Department of Public Health laboratories put out a directive this past week that it will only accept samples for testing from the State Police Emergency Services Unit, State DEP Haz-Mat Unit, and FBI -- to ensure that what their testing for Anthrax had already been screened for other chemicals & explosives.
        It's not JUST a hazmat, it is a crime scene. You absolutely must 100% of the time, always coordinate your activities with law enforcement. Regardelss of what the substance is (anthrax or hoax) it is a crime scene and law enforcement is calling the shots.

        As far as PPE, we have been using level B or C, depending on what the circumstances are. A good assessment of the threat should give you a good idea of what is going on.
        PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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        • #5
          COME-ON, relax, take your normal medical response protection and turn the package over. If it comes up positive, get your Cipro and it's done. No big deal!

          We have got to stop doing what these bastards want us to and that's change our way of life and walk on egg shells.

          If you're that worried, quit your job, cancel your mail and hide at home. If not, go to work and show the public you're not as scared as they are.

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          • #6
            If you're that worried, quit your job, cancel your mail and hide at home. If not, go to work and show the public you're not as scared as they are.

            E229lt. Maybe were your from it is normal for anthrax responses. But here on planet earth it is not something a civilized country like ours is used to. If you haven't noticed our job can cost us our lives ( which I understand and accept), but did you not realize that some of us have families. If you really think that charging into a situation without any regard to what might be going on, then fine with me when you bring home that anthrax virus to our 6month old daughter or your 80y/o grandmother who's immune system sucks. What did they ever do? You owe it to your family and friends to keep them safe to.

            I don't intend to make this post a bitch session. Just want to get information and protect my brothers.

            It really ****es me off sometimes when I see firefighters not "thinking". Maybe if they had used their brains there would still be firefighters here that were killed in the line of duty.

            Comment


            • #7
              "If you haven't noticed our job can cost us our lives "


              Yeah, I noticed.

              As for having families, I have one too. Of course I take the time to shower and clean up before I go home to them. Chill Bro.

              [ 10-21-2001: Message edited by: E229lt ]

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              • #8
                fir_sar, relax. First anthrax is a bacteria NOT a virus. that is why it can be treated with antibiotics. PCN and other meds can also treat it, you don't always need Cipro. It is also generaly not passed from one person to another. Go to the CDC website and learn something about it prior to running off at the mouth.

                Also it isn't white it is a brownish color, so if it looks like flower it probably is. If you wear the regular EMS ppe and don't roll around in it you will be fine. I'd worry more about TB or hep B, C or just the pneumonia your pt's have.

                Not to sound too sarcastic but read up on anthrax from a valid source, like the cdc.

                Stay safe and don't get sucked in to this anthrax panic.

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                • #9
                  fire_sar, did you take notice to where E229LT is from?? Probably not, or you would've thought twice about making an assinine comment like that.
                  Buster

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                  • #10
                    For what it's worth Anthrax has been around longer than most of us.If you think back a little smallpox was a major killer back a little while ago.Now you also have to take into consideration is it Weapons grade anthrax(not good) or a lesser grade?Guess what?You're probably not gonna know.Lt. 229 is pretty much riding the ball,It's a Haz-Mat in our state.APRs and suitable clothing,wash up after play and let training and professional assistance guide you,not emotions.A leaking twenty pound cylinder of propane in a building is more scary to me than an anthrax scare.I don't know how long the gas has been leaking or where it's gone but I know how to deal with an anthrax envelope.Don't sniff it and don't roll in it! Bag it and tag it,send it to the lab.T.C.

                    [ 10-21-2001: Message edited by: Rescue 101 ]

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                    • #11
                      I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm a little upset with E229lt's replies. I started this post to LEARN somethings about anthrax and better myself and my crew. When I see in training videos and fire calls firefighters doing things that they know better then to do. It does make me wonder what they'll do in a situation like biologica/chemical weapons or substances are used. This is something rather new to fire/ems, and in a way (in my area) we're not prepared as we should be.

                      Guys like I said I'm sorry for sounding upset. For what it's worth I am relaxed. But I also don't like leaving the small details when I do something.

                      For those that have given great information on this subject I thank you very much. And for those that have intentions of making this post a bitch session. It won't happen.

                      ADSN/WFLD, Can you give us a link to the CDC website?

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                      • #12
                        From the front page of Firehouse.com
                        http://www.bt.cdc.gov/Agent/Anthrax/Anthrax.asp
                        Remember, it IS as bad as you think and they ARE out to get you!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My question for all of you is, how do you know that the substance you are attempting to "...Bag, tag, and send to the lab" isnt a different or more contagious substance. I am not saying clear the entire area and quarantine the building, but I think it would be smart to be safe. I agree that paranoia is the ultimate goal of the perpetrators of these acts, but treating these scares too nonchalantly is in my opinion going to far in the opposite extreme.
                          We had a round of these Anthrax scares about three years ago. Most of them were kids trying to get the day off school. Our response was typically stage at a local fire station and wait for the county fire coordinator, the person finding the suspect package would double bag the package and hand it out to the waiting law enforcement official,(who was wearing the above ppe and a tyvek suit), the package would be taken to the local trauma center for testing.
                          Everything tends to keep a low key here which works in our favor. The news has stated that they will not make a big deal out of any local incidents involving possible anthrax.
                          I would just be careful because that "anthrax" you just took to the lab could have actually been something else.

                          Stay safe out there.
                          Shawn M. Cecula
                          Firefighter
                          IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            fire_sar, et al.

                            First let me say sorry if I came off harsh, I've been a little punchy lately.

                            Now my thought:

                            Let's say I get exposed to Anthrax even though I am wearing gloves and a mask. For whatever reason, I become infected. Here's the question.
                            If I develope Inhalation Anthrax, it sounds as though, once I show symptoms, I'm a goner.
                            On the other hand, if I develope Cutanious Anthrax, I can be treated and recover.

                            If this is the case, wouldn't I be better off wearing a mask and no gloves? Wouldn't the onset of a rash and/or black pustule let me know early that I have been exposed? Perhaps a skin breakout would give me time to begin treatment before the lungs began to be affected.

                            I am not advocating this idea at all. Just wondering if it makes any sense.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lt, I understand what you are saying. And yes it does make sence. But, It may not be Anthrax in the package, and even if it is why would you want to risk getting it. It could be on of the cantgetridofs; i.e. small pox, the plague, or any other number of nasty illnesses. (Please realize I am not a biochemist, just coming up with some scenarios). I am not saying that we need to be freakishly paranoid but I do think we should be careful. Plan for the worst and hope for the best so to speak.
                              Shawn M. Cecula
                              Firefighter
                              IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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