Carmel safety officials talk Ebola response


Safety officials have begun working on guidelines for local fire, police and EMS in the event of a suspected case of Ebola in our jurisdiction.

“Let me first say that while Ebola is highly infectious, it is not highly contagious,” said Carmel Fire Chief Matt Hoffman. “But given the events of the last week, we feel a certain level of training and preparedness is in order so that we are ready in the event of a suspected case.”

Carmel’s plan includes a coordinated effort among city safety departments. Elements include:

Working with Carmel Police to finalize and approve any procedures for the dispatchers at Hamilton County Communications Center when alerting responders of suspected cases of Ebola.

Creating a plan for the protection of Carmel Police officers who might come in contact with potentially infected people.

Updating the Carmel Fire Department response plan, adding a checklist for responders to do an in-field assessment for Ebola based on the most recent guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control.

Distribution of video-based training created by Carmel Fire Department medical director Dr. Michael Kaufmann, Medical Director for St. Vincent Emergency Medical Services, on the proper way to put on and take off protective chemical suits and hospital gowns designed to protect the wearer from blood and virus contamination, yet still allow a level of breathability, plus a PowerPoint presentation on Ebola awareness for the firefighters.

Hands-on training to supplement the video-based training for all firefighters from Oct. 18-21, conducted by Carmel Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Coordinator Chuck Plumer.

Exploring logistical options for obtaining more equipment and supplies in the event of a locally identified case of Ebola, including the potential designation of a reserve ambulance for Ebola patients; the procurement of extra entry suits, impermeable gowns and respirators; exploring the current back-order times for commonly required protective equipment; and supply chain integrity among our current vendors.

City officials hope to finalize the plan quickly and be ready to respond to situations or changes as dictated by federal health officials as this Ebola crisis continues.

“While the chances of an Ebola outbreak in Carmel may be slim, being prepared best serves our community. This is not the kind of situation where we can wait to train after the fact. An immediate and well thought out plan is the prudent course of action,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

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