Accomplishments for Core Goal #4: Personal Protective Equipment for First Responders
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The State has focused on organizing, standardizing, collecting, and disseminating useful information on PPE available and currently in-use within their borders to State agencies and local jurisdictions. In 2007, PPE for State law enforcement officers was not widely available, procurement was uncoordinated, and training and fit-testing were disorganized. Following are key projects and accomplishments:
- Invested more than $500,000 to provide every tactical and patrol officer in the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA), Natural Resources Police (NRP), Maryland Capital Police (DGS), and Maryland State Police (MSP) has access to a set of personal protective equipment (PPE) – a chemical suit, air mask, and other equipment – to protect themselves and respond to assist the public during a WMD attack. In 2008, the State identified a single, standardized PPE package and provided a set of equipment to every tactical and patrol officer in the five largest State law enforcement agencies. Since finalizing this uniform package, more than $500,000 has been invested in purchasing PPE for field and tactical officers. As new officers enter service, they are also issued a set of equipment.
- Identified and implemented a single, standardized curriculum to ensure that State law enforcement officers receive the same training and same testing for respirators and other PPE. The State has developed a single Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for PPE to be employed across its law enforcement agencies. The SOP includes a unified training curriculum and fit-testing to ensure respirators and other PPE fit properly and are effective. Standardizing training allows the State to share resources across agencies, train more efficiently, and conduct fit-testing for new personnel.
- Established a procedure to collect and track routine data on expiration dates, fit testing, and equipment issuance. The State established a centralized process for collecting and reporting data on the age and expiration dates of equipment such as PPE filters to more efficiently track and manage resources and foresee needs across agencies. The same process is used to track annual fit-testing and equipment deployment to ensure equipment reaches first responders and that they are able to utilize it. The State also works with local law enforcement leaders to identify local equipment levels and types.
- Identified cache locations and deployment methods for each agencies’ PPE. Because the donning of PPE is a life safety measure, each of the five largest state police agencies identified the most efficient and effective method for storing and deploying caches of PPE. Each agency now has the ability to provide spare and/or supplemental PPE to their first responders in the event of an emergency.
- Stockpiled chemical antidotes in strategic locations throughout the State to protect Maryland’s first responders and ensure they are able to protect themselves against the effects of chemical, biological, and radiological agents and respond to assist the public. Hundreds of ambulances throughout the State carry caches of chemical antidotes. Additional caches are strategically deployed in every region of the state. Kits include antidotes, effective against the types of hazardous agents first responders could encounter in a WMD attack.