IAFC offers COVID-19 personnel, PPE impact dashboards, more resources for fire, EMS leaders

The association encourages chiefs to review a preparedness checklist and guidelines for infection control


By Laura French

This article, originally published on Jan. 29, 2020, has been updated with new information and resources. 

CHANITLLY, Va. — The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has responded to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by forming a COVID-19 Task Force to monitor outbreak updates and develop recommendations for fire departments, and compiling a list of resources and guidelines for fire and EMS leaders.

The IAFC encouraged chiefs to review documents prepared by agencies and organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and World Health Organization (WHO), and added that the list would be updated as new information is made available. 

The IAFC first began compiling resources in late January, and has since published a variety of resources, including a survey for fire chiefs to collect data and analyze the impact of COVID-19 on emergency response organizations and a guide for what fire chiefs need to know about the national emergency declaration.

The IAFC Fire and EMS Personnel Survey and Dashboard, created by the IAFC and partner Esri, allows agencies to report on the impacts to personnel they are seeing as they respond to COVID-19 events. The survey and accompanying dashboard provide a view as to what, where and who is being impacted. As of this writing, more than 2,000 fire personnel have been quarantined. 

The IAFC offers a Fire Department Personnel Impact Dashboard to track personnel exposure and infection cases across the United States. (Photo/IAFC)
The IAFC offers a Fire Department Personnel Impact Dashboard to track personnel exposure and infection cases across the United States. (Photo/IAFC)

Additional new resources launched by the IAFC include the following:

IAFC Fire and EMS Force Protection PPE Survey and Dashboard: The IAFC Fire and EMS Force Protection PPE Survey and accompanying dashboard are designed to gauge the impacts that COVID-19 is having fire and EMS PPE supply chains. The IAFC is asking fire departments to fill out the survey every couple of days to update their needs.

Fire and EMS Training Centers Impact: The IAFC has worked with the North American Fire Training Directors to develop a survey and accompanying dashboard to gauge the impact of closing fire and EMS training centers is having on the certification processes for fire and EMS personnel.

IAFC Hot Sheet: Coronavirus Legislative Agenda: Because fire and EMS departments are struggling to provide service to their communities and are experiencing shortages of PPE, masks and other supplies, the IAFC is asking for federal assistance. These departments are also seeing reduced numbers of staff due to the transmission of COVID-19 and associated quarantines. As a result, the IAFC is asking Congress to take several actions which are detailed in the Coronavirus Hot Sheet (PDF).

Weekly COVID-19 Webinar Series: On March 16 and March 23, the IAFC hosted free webinars to provide fire service leaders with live updates on the current COVID-19 crisis. The recordings are available free of charge at iafc.org/covid19. Due to the enormous response, the IAFC intends to host a weekly update on Mondays during the duration of the crisis.

The March 16 webinar, included below, featured IAFC President Chief Gary Ludwig; Coronavirus Task Force Chair Chief John Sinclair; Dr. James Augustine, MD, FACEP, IAFC EMS Section; and IAFC staff Ken LaSala and Jeff Dulin. They reviewed the most important information for fire chiefs to know as they develop plans to treat patients and protect firefighters and related first responders.

Other COVID-19 resources available through the IAFC include the Fire Chief's Guide for Coronavirus Planning and Response, COVID-19 Overviews for Fire/EMS Agencies and PSAPs, PPE Selection and Infection Control, Maintaining Operations, and COVID-19 Cost Recovery for Fire and EMS Departments (USFA).

Following is the list of additional resource materials prepared by the IAFC: 

See the IAFC website for more information. 

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