From the desk of the U.S. Fire Administrator:
“As I told you last week, ‘It is our purpose to provide you the most current information we have at the USFA.’ We believe that especially during this pandemic crisis, communication with our stakeholders is of the utmost importance. It is also important to us that this communication be interactive and therefore we welcome your feed-back. If there is information you need that we are not providing, please let us know and we will do our best to provide that to you. We would also welcome any news from the local, state or regional perspective that you believe would be beneficial to share with the larger fire service community. One area of concern is that of rumors, speculation and misinformation which unfortunately seems rampant. We all have a role and responsibility in minimizing this in order to address and make decisions regarding the current circumstances from a factual basis. I would encourage us all to stay engaged as much as possible by sharing our successes, best practices, and even our mistakes to continue to make a positive difference in protecting the lives within our communities and each other.”
Fire Administrator Keith Bryant
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) continues to be part of several Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Task Force Groups and provide information sharing through webinars. Task force engagement includes the FEMA Healthcare Resiliency Task Force. This task force continues to address fire/emergency medical service access to personal protective equipment (PPE); PPE disinfection; responder testing; supply chain; cost recovery; crisis standards of care; data; stakeholder engagement; crosscutting telemedicine; and response best practices. On April 24, a focused webinar was held with tribal nations providing important information on public assistance.
On April 28, 2020 FEMA will begin accepting Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program – COVID-19 Supplemental (AFG-S) applications at 8 a.m. ET. The application period will close at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, May 15, 2020. These documents can be viewed on the AFG Program website at FY 2020 AFG-S COVID-19 guidance documents and/or downloaded to your computer.
As of April 20, FEMA, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the private sector combined have coordinated the delivery of, or are currently shipping: 57.4 million N95 respirators, 85.3 million surgical masks, 6.4 million face shields, 12.3 million surgical gowns, 638 million gloves, 10,998 ventilators and 8,450 federal medical station beds. FEMA continues to expedite movement of commercially presourced and commercially procured critical supplies from the global market to medical distributors in various locations across the U.S. through Project Airbridge (ESF 15 Report, 21 APR PM). The Defense Logistics Agency awarded a contract to Battelle Critical Care Decontamination Systems for 60 N95 decontamination system units for the sanitation and reuse of N95 respirators. HHS will fulfill state requests through the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, DC. Six systems already deployed to New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Ohio. Additional units are planned for deployment across the U.S. by early May in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Jersey. Deliveries to Kentucky, Oregon and Tennessee will follow. This decontamination system enables the reuse of compatible N95 respirators that would otherwise be disposed of after a single use. For personnel safety, it is important to purchase only approved N95 respirators from one of the nine manufactures identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For detailed information, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirators-strategy/index.html.
The National Fire Academy (NFA) continues to update on-campus training suspensions. FEMA continues to monitor the guidance of the CDC as it relates to COVID-19. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is encouraging organizations to promote social distancing, hold meetings via videoconferencing, reduce nonessential travel, and adjust or postpone events and gatherings. As such, National Emergency Training Center resident courses for the NFA have been suspended and classes canceled through July 4. To fill the training gap, NFA is highlighting several online courses at www.usfa.fema.gov/training/nfa/.
We have created a new gov delivery list for COVID-19 updates. If you would like to receive this message, sign up here. For detailed information and to dispel false information, please visit the following websites. These sites are updated daily.
To share information or report issues to FEMA, please email the information to [email protected]