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New NIOSH Documents Available on Protection from Biological Agents

Apr 15, 2009

NIOSH recommends against wearing standard firefighter turnout gear into potentially contaminated areas when responding to reports of terrorist activities involving biological agents, provided there are no other hazards that would require turnout gear.
The approach to any potentially hazardous environment, including one with biological hazards, must be made with a plan that includes an assessment of hazard and exposure potential, respiratory protection needs, dermal
protection needs, entry conditions, exit routes, and decontamination strategies. Plans involving a biological hazard should be based on relevant infectious disease or biological safety recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other expert bodies including emergency first responders, law enforcement, and public health officials. The need for pre/post exposure treatment of first responders with antibiotics, vaccination, or other medications should be determined in consultation with licensed medical personnel. NIOSH recommends against wearing standard firefighter turnout gear into potentially contaminated areas when responding to reports
of terrorist activities involving biological agents, provided there are no other hazards that would require turnout gear. To download NIOSH Publication No. 2009-132: Recommendations for the Selection and Use of Respirators
and Protective Clothing for Protection Against Biological Agents, go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2009-132/.