The NFPA 1581, Standard on Fire Department Infection Control Program (2000), addresses the provision of minimum requirements for infection control practices within a fire department. The purpose of the standard is "to provide minimum criteria for infection control in the fire station, in the fire apparatus and during procedures at an incident scene, and at any other area where fire department members are involved in routine or emergency operations."(1- 2.1)
The standard outlines the recommended facilities for infection control within the department. These recommendations also comply with CDC and OSHA regulations. The fire department should be equipped with facilities for disinfection, cleaning, and storage. The appendix of NFPA 1581 provides recommendations for fire department apparatus and for the building of new fire stations. Consideration of infection control measures should be applied to bathrooms, kitchens, sleeping areas, laundry facilities, equipment storage areas, cleaning areas, disinfection facilities, and disposal areas.
(6-1.1) As another important factor in infection control,
cleaning and disinfection of equipment and clothing should be performed in the proper area and on a regular basis and/or immediately following an exposure incident. Under no circumstances should contaminated equipment or clothing be taken home for cleaning.
Each fire department must have procedures for the decontamination of specific items of clothing and equipment. OSHA has published recommendations for these procedures in their Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. Cleaning, disinfecting, and disposal criteria are included in this OSHA standard as well as in NFPA 1581, Standard on Fire Department Infection Control Program, which is required to be utilized by NFPA 1500.