A news report pointed out that some Ptt online users were concerned about the letter from Centers for Disease Control, dated Jun 12, 2017, on the interpretation of Paragraph 1, Clause 12 of the “HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act,” which says that the emergency medical technicians on an ambulance are not included in the obligation that an HIV patient is required to make his/her conditions known. For this, firefighters who sometimes have to carry out emergency rescue feel neglected. NFA continues to work with CDC on law amendment or other improvement measures to ensure firefighters’ safety when they are performing their duties.
NFA mentioned that, in addition to the chance to expose to suspected HIV patients during routine rescue missions, rescue workers are under risks of contacting the blood or body fluid of patients or airborne diseases such as tuberculosis and flu at the rescue scenes, on the way to hospital, or upon the arrival of ER, and there were even reports that rescue workers were injured by used needles. For this, basic protections such as gloves and surgical masks are required when performing emergency rescue; if the presence of a specific infectious disease is known, it is essential to protect the staff by wearing barrier gown and shoe covers.
NFA recommends that the frontline firefighters ask the patients’ medical history when performing rescue missions. However, some of the patients may try to hide his/her conditions, or may be unaware of his/her illness due to lack of inspection, or they sometimes are unconscious at the time of incident. For safety reasons, firefighters still have to improve their knowledge of protection and equipment to prevent infection. NFA will continue to work with CDC, discussing the risks that the frontline firefighters are exposed to when they are carrying out rescue missions, and to propose law amendments or other improvements to ensure the safety of firefighters in the line of duty.