On March 13, 2020, U.S. President Donald J. Trump declared a National Emergency under the provisions of The National Emergencies Act (NEA) (Public Law 94–412, 90 Statute 1255, enacted September 14, 1976, codified at 50 United States Code § 1601–1651). The declaration was made in response to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic caused by the COVID 19 strain. One day earlier, on March 12, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency in response to this same threat. While the best resources for information about the pandemic are the Federal government’s site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (found below), first responders may benefit from the additional resources provided below as they update or create pandemic plans and adjust to operating and delivering services during this crisis.
This page has been developed to provide information, resources and best practices to Chiefs and First Responders to protect our personnel as best as they can.
The VSFA will be updating this page on a regular basis as new information becomes avaiable.
Websites with additional information
The NVFC has also created a survey for volunteer and combination fire, EMS, and rescue agencies to report on the challenges they are facing related to COVID-19. The information gathered through the survey will be used to help inform discussions with policymakers going forward. Take the survey here.
EMS.gov COVID-19 Resources for EMS
FEMA Guidance on Continuity of Operations Plans for Influenza Pandemics. Although not specific to the COVID virus, it has sound guidance that will apply. Your AHJ will need to amend the triage, screening, and isolation criteria and protocols, as well as amend the treatment/intervention protocols.
Table on the efficacy of disinfecting wipes. PLEASE READ as not all wipes are created the same and some may damage expensive equipment like SCBAs, TICs, etc.
Basic DRAFTS of various NIMS forms. These are shells only but provide the key elements that should be considered in the development of your Incident Action Plans. It is crucial that organizations document their response efforts, including preparedness, operations, and demobilization (when that comes). This provides a starting point. The forms will lneed to be adapted to each locality.
NEW 3-24-20 Updates
Preventing aerosol-generating procedures while treating prehospital COVID-19 patients
From the NVFC:COVID-19 IMPACT ON FIRE & EMS: WEEKLY UPDATE 3/27/20
U.S. Fire Administration updates
The Bureau of Justice Assistance has released an update explaining how the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program treats conditions caused by infectious diseases like COVID-19. Learn more about what factors will be considering when evaluating applications related to the disease.
The NVFC is providing a weekly update to the fire and emergency services on news, resources, and relevant information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find additional resources on our COVID-19 webpage.
Results from Week 3 of the NVFC Survey to Document Volunteer Emergency Services’ COVID-19 Experiences
The NVFC is running an ongoing survey to better understand the experiences of volunteer and combination fire, EMS, and rescue departments dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. We encourage you to take the survey here, and to retake it each week so that we can track changing challenges and needs. Click here to view the results of the survey from the past week.
CARES Act Funding: Work with Your State, Local Authorities
Both the U.S. Treasury and FEMA recently announced funding to help state and local governments fund their COVID-19 response. Both funding opportunities, provided through the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136), require fire chiefs to work with their state and local authorities.
1) U.S. Treasury Funding for State and Local Governments COVID-19 Response
The U.S. Treasury announced a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for the state, local, territorial and tribal governments. The relief fund will only reimburse for expenses that:
- Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020, (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the state, local, territorial or tribal government.
- Were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 30, 2020.
The Coronavirus Relief Fund will fund states, the District of Columbia, territories, and units of local government with populations exceeding 500,000. Here is a list of state allocations (pdf) and here is a list of eligible local jurisdictions (pdf).
Eligible governments will have to submit their completed payment materials by 11:59 PM ET, Friday, April 17. The IAFC recommends that fire chiefs work with their local city and county government finance officials to apply for reimbursement for COVID-19 expenses.
2) FEMA’s Special EMPG-S Program for COVID-19 Response
FEMA announced a special $100 million FY 2020 Emergency Management Performance Grant Program – COVID-19 Supplemental (EMPG-S). This program will provide funds to state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency management agencies to assist with preventing, preparing for, and responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. FEMA encourages funding to be used for:
- Mitigation activities to slow the spread of COVID-19
- Integration of emergency management and public health operations
- Collection and display of public, private, and governmental data of hospital bed and ventilator capacity and usage
- Collection and display of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) inventories and establishment of burn rates to forecast future needs
- Planning for alternate care sites
- Identifying all sources to surge medical professionals
EMPG-S funding can also be used to assist emergency managers with implementing community lifelines to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
All 56 states and territories are eligible for applying for the EMPG-S funds. However, only the State Administrative Agency or the State’s Emergency Management Agency can apply for the program. Only one application is allowed for each state or territory. There is a 50% cost-share for state, local, tribal and territorial governments. More information about this program can be found on the FEMA website.
The IAFC recommends that fire chiefs contact their state emergency managers to coordinate on EMPG-S applications. Initial applications must be submitted at least one day prior to the April 28 deadline.
Goochland County Fire & Rescue Ambulance Decon Procedures
This short video explains Goochland County Fire & Rescue ambulance decon process to the public. This deep cleaning is above and beyond the normal cleaning processes which are still occurring. Special thanks to Henrico Division of Fire who helped us develop this procedure. In addition to normal cleaning and disinfection, “airing out” the ambulance also seems to do a lot to help with contamination. Members are instructed to do the following after an actual or suspected COVID-19 patient transport, which also keeps the unit out of service for longer periods of time: Allow EMS unit to “air out” 5-10 minutes to allow droplets to fall. With natural air exchange rates, a 23-minute air out time reduces contamination by 90%. A 46-minute air exchange rate reduces contamination by 99%. This process is just one of many that are being used by departments. It is not a certified or proven process, just something Goochland is doing to the best of their ability, and as cleaning product availability allows.
Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Interim Guidelines
COVID-19 Broadband Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Virginian’s ability to work, access healthcare and education, and has magnified the digital divide more than ever before. The Commonwealth Connect team has launched this webpage to provide information about what both the federal government and Virginia’s ISPs are doing in response to the crisis. For the latest on Virginia’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit – https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/
Virginia has been in a State of Emergency since March 2020, and there is no end in sight. The fire and emergency services, including emergency medical service providers across the Commonwealth have seen some significant fiscal impacts as a result. Most volunteer organizations have lost the ability to execute their essential fundraising activities due to the requirements imposed by executive orders issued by Governor Ralph Northam, and many fire and rescue organizations are experiencing hardship. Nonetheless, there are still 911 calls to be answered, and delivering emergency services costs money. The Virginia State Firefighters Association has looked at the challenges of continuing emergency services delivery and impacts of lost fundraising mechanisms, and offers some ideas on how to cope.
The VSFA has prepared this document to help organizations assess its financial risks and take the necessary steps to endure and recover from the pandemic.
Fiscal Impacts of the Pandemic and What Volunteer Fire, Rescue, and EMS Organizations Can Do:
Read Document Here