COLLEGE STATION – Training in proper donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, has taken on a new sense of urgency with the recent Ebola outbreak. In response, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and its partners in the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC) are collaborating to provide PPE training. The program is funded through DHS/FEMA’s National Training and Education Division as part of the Homeland Security National Training Program.
TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center is delivering the 8-hour course, Personal Protective Measures for Biological Events, which was developed by DHS/FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), an NDPC partner. It is offered at no charge to emergency responders or any personnel who might come in contact with a dangerous biological agent, such as a virus, pathogen, toxin or contaminant.
“We can see from the first events of Ebola in our country that personnel needed more training in PPE and how mistakes in donning and doffing can lead to exposure to a potentially fatal disease,” said TEEX Program Director Vince Slominski. “Knowing the proper process can save a responder’s life and prevent further exposure to others in the public.”
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has led to more than 8,000 deaths.
In the training, personnel learn to identify general characteristics of viruses as well as gain hands-on practice in proper donning and doffing PPE Level C suits in accordance with the standards issued by OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also learn to perform technical decontamination.
The course, which TEEX recently delivered in Kansas, is specifically aimed at emergency responders, Customs and Border Protection officers and personnel who work at U.S. ports of entry, including airports, seaports and rail stations.
“It was well received by all of the participants in Kansas,” said Program Director Rick Comley. “They appreciated the firsthand experiences discussed by the instructors and the opportunity to don and doff PPE, which for many participants was their first time.”
“The curriculum provides timely tools and techniques that each organization might use to better respond to critical situations requiring the use of personal protective equipment,” he added. “I think it was a tremendous success and we look forward to the busy schedule of deliveries across the nation.”
All seven member organizations of the NDPC will be offering the course nationwide in order to reach as many personnel as possible in the coming months. TEEX will provide the training in 10 states.