Personal Protection

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an evolving category of emergency preparedness. The main purpose of PPE is to protect the healthcare provider by minimizing contact with potentially harmful liquids, vapors and solids. Accordingly, the selection of level of PPE requires a knowledge of the physical state of the harmful agent or, if unknown, initial use with the most protective suits and equipment until analysis reveals safety of less cumbersome and technical PPE. Prehospital and hospital healthcare providers have an awareness level of PPE with current safeguards required to protect from body fluids or respiratory precautions (ie masks for TB patient exposure). Training with PPE should include appropriate selection of level of PPE, donning and doffing, as well as fit testing for mask devices such as the commonly used N 95 mask to insure seal integrity. Higher level PPE such as those utilizing self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) require specialized training and a higher level of fitness limiting the time a provider can endure in these garments.









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