Any case of serious infection can put the health and lives of people under threat. While it is possible to institute a quarantine among civilians, many significant organizations and departments still need to continue working. They face a challenging task: they have to pay special attention to health measures while maintaining their general performance. In this essay, the solutions to this problem will be discussed through the example of a suburban police department in the situation of spreading of the infectious virus.
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It is necessary to mention that the police cannot stop work or make officers redundant even at the time of the health crisis. On the contrary, the situation requires more thorough attention from these forces, as crimes and small offenses remain, and the increased virus-related anxiety among citizens may lead to even more illegal actions. The fact that the police department is suburban can increase the chances of avoiding a virus. In general, city suburbs are not densely populated, and therefore, police officers are not likely to contact a big number of infected people or spread the infection themselves. However, the cases of the disease in these areas may also take place, and the police need to be ready to eliminate possible negative outcomes.
First of all, as the chief of the department, I would pay attention to defining the degree of the risk. According to Mansdorf, the prevention of infectious disease “begins with identifying possible infectious agents, along with their reservoirs” (p. 174). Depending on the kind of virus, the infection should be comprehensively studied in terms of symptoms, causative agent, incubation period, occurrence, and other features. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual would be an appropriate source to consult, as it contains information about different infections and their characteristics (Mansdorf, p. 174). This research is needed to take appropriate prevention and treatment measures.
The second step to provide health security is to prevent the spread of the infection, depending on the identified virus. All susceptible employees, including police officers, administrative personnel, and other members, need to receive proper medical examination and immunization as soon as possible (Mansdorf., p. 175). Infected employees are to be put into quarantine and provided with necessary treatment. The premises, equipment, official vehicles and employee uniforms should be thoroughly cleaned.
As it is the case of severe infection, it can be useful to modify some of the basic facilities of the police department premises. For example, engineers need to evaluate if water systems may be a source of bacteria multiplication. Solutions include temperature control, the use of a biocide, and regular maintenance. Ventilation systems can also increase the spread of infectious aerosol; measures should be taken to minimize air contamination and control direction and patterns of airflow in a facility (Mansdorf, p. 177). Potentially infectious surfaces and material should also be removed or substituted.
Important measures to maintain a healthy work environment include proper hazard-related education of employees. All personnel should be instructed about virus-related risks, the main features of the infection, and preventive steps (Mansdorf, p. 175). Moreover, as employees may have to interact with infected coworkers or other people affected by the virus, it is important to provide all workers with basic protection like facemasks. Every case demanding the attention of police forces should be evaluated in terms of possible risk for the health of employees. It is also necessary to identify workers who can be especially susceptible to hazards, for example, those who are subject to different health issues or whose responsibilities include interaction with a significant number of people.
At the same time, as the hazard can be rather high, it is important to create proper working conditions for first responders. As there is a risk of employees’ contact with infected workers or civilians, it would be better to provide medical supervision on-premises. The aim is to supply these specialists with level C protection, which includes facemasks, air-purifying respirators, chemical-resistant clothes, protective gloves, and footwear (Perry et al, p. 86). Besides these protection supplies, first responders need to have access to all necessary drugs and equipment for first aid. A separate well-equipped room should be used for regular checkups and treatment. The room should not have direct contact with the main facility, for example, through ventilation. In the police department, the medical examination should be conducted individually after each contact with infected workers or citizens and regularly, for example, twice a month.
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As a result, it is possible to say that health measures and preventive steps are usually standard in different cases of infectious diseases, though it is also necessary to study the characteristics of a particular virus. It is especially important to provide a healthy working environment for police officers and other workers of a police department, as they need to continue their service even at the time of health crisis. Both management and employees need to pay attention to every aspect of health safety: prevention measures, immunization and quarantine, supplies for first responders, proper cleaning of facilities, regular medical checkups, and personnel education. If all these factors are taken into account in time, the police department workers would be safe from health deterioration and would continue their work without interruption.
- Mansdorf, S.Z., editor. Handbook of Occupational Safety and Health. 3rd ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2019.
- Perry, Anne Griffin, et al. Nursing Interventions & Clinical Skills E-Book. 7th ed., Elsevier Health Sciences, 2018.