Following investigation by the NZPFU, it has been discovered that the medical gowns provided by FENZ for members to wear at medical calls, do not comply with any National or International Standard.
It is the responsibility of FENZ to provide equipment that is fit for purpose and complies with all relevant standards.
Effective immediately, these gowns should be removed from appliances and members cease wearing them to incidents.
The paper suits normally used following post-fire decontamination do conform to standards highlighted by WHO and CDC and are suitable for staff to wear at incidents to offer protection from COVID-19.
As the supplies of paper suits are not guaranteed, Northern Branch’s recommendation is for members to carry an extra set of Level One uniform on the appliance to wear post fire, in lieu of using the paper suits.
The paper suits should be reserved for use for medical calls, until such time as supply levels can be increased and guaranteed.
The advice from the Union for responses to COVID-19 incidents remains as follows:
Medical Response to Known or Suspected COVID19
- If you respond to a medical incident and have your full pandemic PPE on for the duration of the incident (gloves, glasses, mask and paper overalls), then the risk of transmission is virtually eliminated this is a controlled exposure. This is not classified as a close contact, you were PPE protected. Make sure you Don, Doff and Dispose of your PPE according to FENZ instructions. You do not need to self-isolate.
- In the unlikely event you aren’t wearing PPE (uncontrolled exposure) OR your PPE becomes compromised and you get direct bodily fluid contamination (ie: patients bodily fluid into your eyes/nose/mouth – contaminated exposure) while carrying out resuscitation, whether it’s 15 minutes or not, you have now had a close contact also. The reason for this is that aerosolisation procedures (bag masking, CPR, intubation), along with direct bodily fluid contamination are high risk activities/incidents. You need to follow FENZ and MOH notification procedures and self-isolate as per COVID19 self-isolation.
- Remember to record known or suspected COVID19 response on Safe@Work and inform your manager and union representative.
If any members have any questions or concerns, please contact one of your Branch Representatives.