Keeping First Responders Safe From COVID-19

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When it comes to vehicle maintenance, first responders already have a lot to think about. In an emergency situation, there’s no time for an engine error, flat tire, or broken emergency light and so all of the key components of the vehicle must be checked regularly and replaced frequently to avoid a potentially fatal delay. New and spare lights and sirens can be sourced from Extreme Tactical Dynamics and regular vehicle servicing can help to find potential mechanical faults before they become a problem, but thanks to COVID-19 first responders must add another vehicle check to their already long list, sanitation. 

Stopping the spread of COVID-19

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COVID-19 has affected every industry, across the world. Many countries may still be on lockdown in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, but first responders must remain active in their lines of duty. Police, fire-fighters, ambulances, paramedics, and emergency crews continue their work on the front line, potentially coming into contact with COVID-19 multiple times a day, unwittingly spreading the virus as they travel between calls. For those called out to known COVID cases, in particular, it is vital that extra sanitation measures are implemented to keep first responder crews and their future patients safe from the spread. So how are first responders responding to the crisis? 

How COVID-19 spreads

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Although COVID-19 is still a relatively new virus it is believed that it spreads primarily through close contact between people and is not currently airborne. Person-to-person spreading means that the virus can be transmitted between individuals who are in close contact with one another (within approximately 6 feet) via respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and also via touching objects that have been infected with COVID-19 droplets. 

Given the rate of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the virus spreads very efficiently between people, even more so than influenza (the flu) and so in order to contain it measures must be put in place to limit person-to-person contact and also to disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces. 

For first responders, this means that by being in the same vehicle as an infected COVID-19 patient they are putting themselves directly at risk, and if suitable sanitation measures are not allowed between calls then the infected droplets within their vehicles could then go on to put other personnel at risk. 

Keeping first responders safe

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Understanding how COVID-19 spreads from person to person has been the key to keeping first responders and their patients safe from the virus. Although different countries, states, and departments have been handling their safety precautions slightly differently, most are following similar precautions. 

The provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

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For healthcare professionals and first responders who are knowingly coming into contact with an infected COVID-19 person, suitable PPE should be worn at all times. At present PPE guidelines state that a face shield or goggles should be worn to protect the face and eyes from droplets transmitted orally via sneezing, coughing, or talking, a respirator or facemask should be worn to protect the mouth and nose, and clean non-sterile gloves should also be used. Many first responders are also wearing clean long-sleeved fluid repellent gowns which are then laundered or discarded between cases. In general first response cases where COVID-19 contamination is unknown, slightly less PPE may be worn, but gloves and a face mask are still highly recommended. Even in small towns like Zapata, all calls are being treated like COVID-19 calls with first responders issued with full protective gear for their own and their patient’s safety. 

Sanitation of emergency vehicles

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PPE and clothing may be changed, discarded, or washed between call-outs but as soon as an infected COVID-19 patient enters an emergency vehicle, the entire vehicle becomes a potential hazard to its crew and new patients. At a minimum, commonly touched areas within the vehicle are to be sanitized at the beginning and end of each shift and in between the transportation of different passengers, with non-porous surfaces such as door handles and seat belt buckles to be treated with appropriate disinfectants. Gloves and other disposable PPE are recommended to be used while cleaning and disinfecting potentially contaminated vehicles and clothes should also be laundered. In cases where a known COVID-19 patient has been in the vehicle, mostly in ambulances, more stringent cleaning regimes are in place to ensure the full sanitation of the vehicle. 

In certain areas, such as The West Virginia National Guard, a new innovative process is being deployed to decontaminate the large numbers of emergency and first responder vehicles in use during the COVID-19 pandemic – a mobile Aerosolized Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) system. The AHP system uses a 7% solution of hydrogen peroxide that has been vaporized into a fog. This non-toxic and non-residue fog is able to reach all areas of the vehicle including porous surfaces, ventilation systems, and hard to reach crevices, ensuring far deeper sanitation. The AHP system has been shown to be effective at killing viruses, bacteria, and fungi and has the capability to meet the demand imposed by a large number of first responder vehicles. 

Larry Cole, the director of administration at Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority commented that “While ambulances are always cleaned by crews between medical calls, this process provides us a more stringent level of sanitation to help alleviate any potential spread of COVID-19… This effort is setting a new standard in the cleaning and sterilization of ambulances during this pandemic, and in the future when any type of contagious pathogen situation is involved.”

AHP systems are currently static and so have been set up inside hangars and warehouses into which vehicles can be driven for decontamination. The process takes approximately 45 minutes to complete, meaning that emergency vehicles can get back on the road much faster than if they were to be thoroughly cleaned by hand.

Testing of first responder personnel  

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Despite PPE and stringent sanitation measures first responders still put themselves at an increased risk of catching the virus and with 50% of people showing no or very little outward symptoms of infection, they could be unknowingly spreading the virus to their fellow staff members or members of the public. To stop first-responders from becoming spreaders and to ensure that they can receive the treatment they need if they do become infected, efforts have been made to ensure that as many front-line workers, healthcare professionals, and first-responders have access to medical testing as possible. At present, there are two categories of COVID-19 tests, antibody tests, and polymerase chain reaction tests. Antibody tests to see if someone has the antibodies for COVID-19, meaning that they have already had the virus, whereas PCR tests to see if someone currently has the infection. If a first responder responds positively to a PCR test then they must leave their line of duty immediately to follow self-isolation measures, but a positive antibody test is less than conclusive. At present, we do not know if a person who has had COVID-19 can become re-infected, questions on immunity are still being answered and sadly tests are quite difficult to come by. With first-responders potentially coming into contact with COVID-19 on a daily basis, it is near impossible to test them as frequently as is required, therefore in the interim, personal symptom tracking remains essential. 

The future

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Looking forward, the use of PPE and the maintenance of strict sanitation remains the best way to keep first-responders and their patients safe, regardless of the testing available. As the pandemic begins to wind down, it is vital that these measures remain in place to stop the second wave of infection. We may not be out of the woods yet, but things may be getting brighter. 

The post Keeping First Responders Safe From COVID-19 appeared first on Daily Resources for Web Designers & Developers by Andy Sowards.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.