During this COVID-19 crisis, law enforcement and security personnel are not only expected to continue their usual levels of service to the public but are also expected to assist in community and government efforts to combat the virus. It is important that law enforcement and security officers are aware of the following information: Recognition, Protection, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and how to Respond if Exposed.
Below are helpful guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and law enforcement and security protocols.
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms after exposure can appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days.
- Protect yourself from exposure. Try to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other persons, particularly those exhibiting the above symptoms. Practice proper hand hygiene and do NOT touch your face with unwashed hands. Have trained EMS or EMT personnel to assess any persons who are suspected of having COVID-19 and have them transported to a medical facility. Know your agency’s plan for exposure control.
- Recommended Personal Protection Equipment: At a minimum, have disposable latex gloves, disposable single-use isolation gowns, coveralls, NIOSH-approved particle respirator, and protective eyewear. And use them! They do you no good left on your belt or in your cruiser.
- If close contact is made with any individual suspected of having COVID-19, cleans and disinfect your duty belt and other gear prior to re-use. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the product label. Follow standard procedures for the containment and disposal of a used PPE. Follow standard procedures for containing and laundering clothes. Avoid shaking the clothes. Make sure that you document any possible exposure.
Remember, be aware of who you are coming in contact with and watch for signs of exposure. Keep your distance. Follow common-sense hygiene protocols. Don’t hesitate to ask for EMS / EMT assistance if you think you need it. You are a key component in combating this virus and keeping your community safe, so stay safe and stay healthy.
For more information visit the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-law-enforcement.html