Leadership

AIDS IN THE FIRE SERVICE: SETTING DEPARTMENT POLICY

Issue 5 and Volume 144.

AIDS IN THE FIRE SERVICE: SETTING DEPARTMENT POLICY Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has become a major concern of emergency responders. But how many fire departments have formally adopted policies covering the spectrum of issues that this relatively new epidemic (the first cases in the United States were identified in 1981) has raised, primarily the issues of fire department employees living and working with AIDS? Few fire departments have AIDS policies that are written, and those that do, have policies that basically address emergency medical exposure precautions only. These limited policies describe how to use universal infectious disease procedures and how to decontaminate first-aid equipment. Most fire department personnel I interviewed expressed concern regarding the need for an employee AIDS policy, but little guidance on how to develop such a policy is offered by fire service organizations. Therefore, I have developed an AIDS policy guideline for fire department employees living…

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