Air permeable versus impermeable PPE – operational considerations of first responder unit1.0 IntroductionAir is an environmental element that can be hazardous if it contains elements that can injure the body or even present infection that would influence the body functions injuriously. During natural calamities and manmade disasters, the quality of air can influence the success of the efforts of first responders at the scene of the event. Personal protective equipment (PPEs) serve to protect the individual acting as a first responder by ensuring that such an individual would act to perform effectively rescue activities while at the same time guarding against injuring oneself in the process (National Institute of Justice 6).
Indeed, many of the hazards encountered by first responders include those that would injure their bodies due to air borne dangers. As such, availing personal protective equipment that is specific to the dangers presented by the air in which the first responders would encounter is pertinent for not only ensuring that they would proffer effective response but also guaranteeing that during the response, their safety remains assured (Health and Safety Executive 3).
Airborne hazards and approaches to combat them through effective personal protective equipment are well studied and standards have been developed, which help discriminate when air permeable and air impermeable personal protective equipment would be required. The ensuing discussion interrogates the various air permeable and air impermeable personal protective equipment and shed light into the considerations of air permeability regarding personal protective equipment that would be pertinent to the operations of first responders. The discussion begins by explaining who the first responders are and the dangers and hazards they encounter that would necessitate their use of persona protection equipment.
Then an explanation to enhance the understanding of personal protective equipment in terms of their air permeability and the hazards that such equipment is designed to manage, is provided. Thereafter, the discussion digresses into the available air permeable and air impermeable personal protective equipment and exactly which elements in the air from which they protect their users. Ultimately, the discussion focuses on the aspects of personal protective equipment the first responders need to consider when dealing with air related hazards to ensure that their first responses are not only effective but also that they are not injurious to their selves.
Indeed, this discussion is cognizant that first responders are associated with organizations, whose responsiveness is guided by operational standards that are aimed at ensuring that the rescuers saves as much human lives and personal property as may be possible without endangering their own selves in the process. 2.0 First responders and hazards they encounter2.1 First respondersFirst responders are individuals of groups of individuals that arrive first at a place in which a calamity, a disaster or an accident has occurred, which may be natural or man-made.
They are the first people who provide emergency services in response to such events and occurrences. According to the Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-8) in the United States, a first responder is an individual who is responsible in the early stages of an occurrence, for protecting and preserving property, life, evidence and the environment before highly skilled personal take over the disaster response services. While many first responders are found in service organizations such the police department, the firefighting department and the medical services whereby they are equipped with first response knowledge and equipment, others may be individual volunteers who may or may not have knowledge and skills regarding initial response and who may have or not have equipment to facilitate their response activities.
Many first undergo training to equip them with response skills that would enable them to manage different kinds of emergencies that occur suddenly, after which they attain certification. Therefore, various certifications are available to first responders depending with the nature of emergency they facilitate.
As such, medical responders are often certified as Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedics. These professional are trained in basic life support (BLS), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), advanced trauma life support (ATLS), advanced cardiac life support ACLS), and acute care of at-risk newborns (ACoRN) among many others (uOttawa 4).