Gaps in Respiratory PPE for Infectious Disease Response   [open pdf - 176KB]

"Federal agencies continue to implement equipment cache programs to assist communities with the response to disaster situations. Equipment contained within federally funded caches should meet national standards where appropriate. This paper will focus on recommendations to increase the availability of respiratory protection for first responders (first receivers) using cache programs that relate to infectious disease response. Appropriate protective ensemble will also include disposable protective clothing to include caps, gowns, boots, gloves and eye/face splash protection. For respirators, caches should include materials that support training, use and proper fit. Sufficient quantities of fit test kits should be included in the caches for each type of respiratory equipment contained within. Appropriate medical assessment(s) and training must be considered for the use, selection and care of the materials contained within as well as the fit testing, doffing, donning and re-use procedures. Based on a review of available sources, it is the opinion of the IAB [InterAgency Board] that respiratory PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] supplies of N95 respirators are not sufficient to meet the potential demands of an Infectious Disease Response. In the event of a large scale-incident, there are demonstrated concerns about how long it will take for cache replenishments to occur as most of the respiratory protective equipment is not manufactured domestically. Many responder organizations have used DHS [Department of Homeland Security] grant funds to purchase enhanced PPE ensembles, however, until recently, grant funds could not be leveraged to maintain and sustain these products resulting in a degradation of preparedness and response levels."

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