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Follow coronavirus advice for first responders, says Fed

Official advice for officers who may have to deal with people who have the COVID-19 virus focuses on hygiene and personal protection.

The advice for first responders has been set out by Public Health England for those who may come into contact with those who have the coronavirus.

The Police Federation said: “We are working closely with Public Health England; we are referring anyone to its published advice.”

The official advice breaks down into the situations that an officer is likely to come across such as homes and custody suites.

It advises officers not to repeatedly use the same equipment, not to stay in a confined space for long periods and wash hands frequently.

The official advice on what to do if you are required to assist someone who is symptomatic and suspected of having COVID-19:

Providing assistance:

If you do need to provide assistance to an individual who is symptomatic and identified as a possible case, wherever possible, place the person in a place away from others. If there is no physically separate room, ask others who are not involved in providing assistance to stay at least 2 metres away from the individual. If barriers or screens are available, these may be used.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Use and dispose of all PPE according to the instructions and training previously provided by your employer or organisation. Disposable gloves and fluid repellent surgical face mask is recommended and, if available, disposable plastic apron and disposable eye protection (such as face visor or goggles) should be worn. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before putting on and after taking off PPE.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

If you are required to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), you should conduct a risk assessment (in the Police this would be a “dynamic risk assessment”) and adopt appropriate precautions for infection control.

Where possible, it is recommended that you do not perform rescue breaths or mouth-to-mouth ventilation; perform chest compressions only. Resuscitation Council (UK) Guidelines 2010 for Basic Life Support state that studies have shown that compression-only CPR may be as effective as combined ventilation and compression in the first few minutes after non-asphyxial arrest (cardiac arrest due to lack of oxygen).

If a decision is made to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation in asphyxial arrest, use a resuscitation face shield where available.

Hand hygiene

After contact with the individual, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water at the earliest opportunity. Alcohol hand gel is recommended if soap and water is not available.

Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose, unless you have recently cleaned your hands after having contact with the individual.

Cleaning the area where assistance was provided

Cleaning will depend on where assistance was provided. If within premises or a public building and cleaners are available, they should be asked to undertake the cleaning in line with the advice provided for cleaning of aircraft. If the area can be cordoned off until a negative test result is available, then cleaning staff could use their normal protocols after this.

If there has been a blood or body-fluid spill

Keep people away from the area. Use a spill-kit if available, using the PPE in the kit or PPE provided by your employer/organisation and following the instructions provided with the spill-kit. If no spill-kit is available, place paper towels/roll onto the spill, and seek further advice from emergency services when they arrive.

Contacts of the unwell person

If anyone had direct contact with the individual and makes themselves known to you, ask them to call NHS 111 and explain what has happened.

What to do if you become unwell following contact with someone who may be at risk of COVID-19

If you have already been given specific advice from your employer or Public Health England (PHE) about who to call if you become unwell, follow that advice.

Otherwise, if you develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of assisting someone unwell and at risk of COVID-19, call NHS 111 (or 999 if it is a medical emergency) and explain that you recently provided assistance.

Handling dead bodies

If a person has died at home and COVID-19 is suspected, disposable gloves should be worn when handling the body or articles in the home. Avoid touching your face or mouth with your gloved hands. Dispose of the gloves and perform hand hygiene, as described above.

Additional advice for police officers, police staff and police volunteers, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement officers

Police officers, staff and volunteers, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement officers should not be performing clinical assessments of any possible cases. If concerned that someone you are managing may be at risk of COVID-19, call NHS 111 (or 999 if it is a medical emergency).

Where appropriate, in an operational setting, you should conduct a risk assessment (in the Police this would be a “dynamic risk assessment”) and adopt appropriate precautions for infection control.

In the majority of policing, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement activities, it is unlikely that officers will require any additional PPE for normal activities. Control measures for example situations are described below; however, this list is not exhaustive and the appropriate PPE for a specific situation will need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Most people you will meet in the course of your work will not have COVID-19. For police, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement officers, there may be situations where a member of the public or someone in custody is identified as someone who may be at risk of COVID-19 (see section 5), or you are required to search or arrest someone who may be at risk of COVID-19.

Infection control measures for police, border force, and immigration enforcement officers

For policing, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement activities which may require having close contact with a symptomatic person who is suspected of having COVID-19 (such an essential interview at less than two metres distance, or arrest and restraint), staff should wear:

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