IAFC Releases “Fire Chief’s Guide to Smallpox Vaccination”

Fairfax, VA – The IAFC has released the Fire Chief’s Guide to Smallpox Vaccination. This new document was prepared under the guidance of the IAFC’s Smallpox Vaccination Working Group which includes representatives from the IAFC EMS Section, Terrorism and Hazardous Materials Committees. The guide was developed in response to President Bush’s decision to embark on an vaccination program against the threat of a terrorist attack using the smallpox virus.

An immediate copy of the guide is available in PDF format, and can be downloaded from www.iafc.org/smallpox.shtml. Hard copies of the guide are in production and will be mailed to all IAFC members by the end of January.

The primary purpose of the document is to provide local fire chiefs with a basic understanding of the upcoming smallpox vaccination program and its impact on their fire department. It is meant to help local fire departments open discussions with the state and local public health officials that will be implementing the program, evaluate the likely operational and administrative impact of a vaccination program and heighten each fire department’s understanding of the benefits and risks from the vaccine. It is not intended to be a substitute for the detailed policy or medical guidance developed by the federal government and the state and local health departments charged with actual implementation of the program. This guide is only intended to serve as an educational tool for the local fire chief.

The guide is broken down into two sections. The first section, titled “Smallpox Vaccination Overview,” provides detailed information on smallpox and the smallpox vaccine. It also explains how the vaccination program will be implemented. The second section, titled “Issues for the Fire Chief,” discusses how this vaccination program will impact a local fire department. It discusses legal, financial and operational issues with the goal of identifying areas where local decision makers need to make important decisions and providing them with the knowledge to make those decisions in a thoughtful manner.

For additional information, visit www.iafc.org.

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