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A Gap Analysis Survey of US Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Members to Determine Highly Infectious Disease Training and Education Needs

  • Aurora B. Le (a1), Rene Herron (a2), Jocelyn J. Herstein (a3), Katelyn C. Jelden (a4), Elizabeth L. Beam (a5) (a6), Shawn G. Gibbs (a1), John J. Lowe (a3) (a5) and Todd D. Smith (a7)...

Abstract

Objective

Despite lessons learned from the recent Ebola epidemic, attempts to survey and determine non-health care worker, industry-specific needs to address highly infectious diseases have been minimal. The aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) industry is often overlooked in highly infectious disease training and education, even though it is critical to their field due to elevated occupational exposure risk during their operations.

Methods

A 44-question gap analysis survey was distributed to the ARFF Working Group to determine where highly infectious education and training can be improved. In total, N=245 responses were initiated and collected. Descriptive statistics were generated utilizing Qualtrics Software Version 2016.17©.

Results

Supervisors perceived Frontline respondents to be more willing and comfortable to encounter potential highly infectious disease scenarios than the Frontline indicated. More than one-third of respondents incorrectly marked transmission routes of viral hemorrhagic fevers. There were discrepancies in self-reports on the existence of highly infectious disease orientation and skills demonstration, employee resources, and personal protective equipment policies, with a range of 7.5%-24.0% more Supervisors than Frontline respondents marking activities as conducted.

Conclusions

There are deficits in highly infectious disease knowledge, skills, and abilities among ARFF members that must be addressed to enhance member safety, health, and well-being. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:675-679)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Aurora B. Le, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Indiana University School of Public Health, 1025 E. Seventh Street, PH 011A, Bloomington, IN 47405 (e-mail: able@indiana.edu).

References

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1. Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Working Group. https://arffwg.org/. Published unknown. Accessed November 10, 2016.
2. Passengers All Carriers – All Airports. Bureau of Transportation Statistics: United States Department of Transportation. http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Data_Elements.aspx?Data=1. Published unknown. Accessed November 18, 2016.
3. Gilsdorf, A, Morgan, D, Leitmeyer, K. Guidance for contact tracing of cases of Lassa fever, Ebola or Marburg haemorrhagic fever on an airplane: results of a European expert consultation. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:1014-1021.
4. Chemardin, J, Paty, M, Renard-Dubois, S, Veziris, N, Antoine, D. Contact tracing of passengers exposed to an extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis case during an air flight from Beirut to Paris, October 2006. Euro Surveill. 2007;12:1014-1021.
5. John, RKS, King, A, De Jong, D, Bodie-Collins, M, Squires, SG, Tam, TW. Border screening for SARS. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005;11:6-10.
6. Fusco, F, Schilling, S, Puro, V, et al. EuroNHID checklists for the assessment of high‐level isolation units and referral centres for highly infectious diseases: results from the pilot phase of a European survey. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2009;15:711-719.
7. Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Airports. Federal Aviation Administration. https://www.faa.gov/airports/airport_safety/aircraft_rescue_fire_fighting/. Published unknown. Accessed November 10, 2016.
8. Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training Program. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/about_wetp/ebola/index.cfm. Published August 11, 2016. Accessed October 14, 2016.
9. Air to Ground Transport Fact Sheet. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response: United States Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/responders/ebola/Pages/air-transport-factsheet.aspx. Published December 1, 2015. Accessed November 28, 2016.
10. Campbell, D, Coffey, C, Lenhart, S. Respiratory protection as a function of respirator fitting characteristics and fit-test accuracy. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 2001;62:36-44.

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Supplementary materials

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Le et al. supplementary material

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A Gap Analysis Survey of US Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Members to Determine Highly Infectious Disease Training and Education Needs

  • Aurora B. Le (a1), Rene Herron (a2), Jocelyn J. Herstein (a3), Katelyn C. Jelden (a4), Elizabeth L. Beam (a5) (a6), Shawn G. Gibbs (a1), John J. Lowe (a3) (a5) and Todd D. Smith (a7)...

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