Covid-19 Protocol

10 Nov 2020                                                


This document is provided as a guideline for SVFD members on how to minimize the risks of COVID-19 while responding to an emergency or utilizing the fire stations for maintenance purposes.  We will continue to take directions from the Provincial Health Officer and follow best practices as determined by the BCCDC.


This document applies to everyone who enters SVFD property, including fire stations, outbuildings, and department vehicles.  The contents of the document are designed to provide the framework for safe working procedures to protect themselves as well as the other members of the department.

During the pandemic, there is a risk of transmission whenever people come into contact with one another, share close physical space, and touch common surfaces. Pandemic-related hazards include:

1.       Physical: touching surfaces that are potentially contaminated with virus particles

2.       Biological: inadvertent exposure to a viral contagion or inadvertent contamination of a shared workspace with easily transmissible viral particles

3.       Chemical: exposure to disinfectants or latex gloves/environmental sensitivities

4.       Psycho-social: mental distress/anxiety

Mitigation Step

Task Instruction


Before entering into a Fire Hall or vehicle, and throughout the day, members MUST self-monitor for symptoms associated with COVID-19 by using the BC Health COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool located here: and answer the prompted questions, which include:

1.       Are you displaying symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, sneezing), whether or not the illness has been confirmed as COVID-19 (refer to the link above for the most up to date list of symptoms)?

2.       In the past fourteen (14) days have you been outside of Canada or BC?

3.       In the past fourteen (14) days have you been in close contact with anyone who is symptomatic, who has been advised to self-isolate or has been diagnosed with COVID-19?


Upon entering the Fire Hall for Emergency response, members must wear a face covering and immediately sanitize their hands before proceeding to their locker or radio.

Before entering the Fire Hall on Non-Emergency business, members must contact their supervisor (either the Fire Chief or Deputy Fire Chiefs) in order to complete the COVID-19 Screening Tool.

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, members must stay home.

 Note: As symptoms and information on the pandemic change, other questions may arise in the survey. Follow the advice provided after the survey has concluded and if advised to stay home.


During all activities, maintain physical distancing from others, including coworkers and members of the public by:

1.       Remaining a minimum of two (2)-meters or six (6)-feet apart.

2.       Not engaging in any physical contact, such as handshaking.

3.       If you cannot maintain physical distancing, a mask MUST be worn at all times.


Members should either:

a)      Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;

b)      If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer or rubs can be used to clean hands.


Members should either:

a)       Avoid touching your face, including eyes, nose, and mouth; AND

b)      Turn their head away from others when coughing or sneezing and cover their mouths with a sleeve (i.e. cough into elbow), OR

c)       Use a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately after, discard tissue(s) into a garbage receptacle and wash hands immediately afterwards.



It is important to make the distinction between cleaning and disinfecting:

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting refers to using chemicals, for example, Health
Canada-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces.

Deep Cleaning refers to disinfecting (kill germs) on a surface after cleaning (removal of germs), it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Workspaces and Equipment
Members should follow these steps to clean all workstations and equipment. (i.e. upon returning from a call) or more often when visibly soiled.

1.       Wash your hands and then using hand sanitizer, disinfect your hands and put on gloves.

2.       If surfaces are visibly dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection (aka “deep clean”).

3.       Use a disinfecting spray or antiseptic wipe to disinfect hard non-porous surfaces by spraying/wiping the surfaces. These include, but are not limited to:

·         keyboard, mouse

·         portable or mobile radios

·         phone, headset

·         desktop surfaces

·         chair seats and armrests

·         cabinet door, drawers

·         doorknobs, handles

·         ignition and driving controls

·         light switches

·         medical cases

·         oxygen equipment

·         firefighting equipment


4.       Carefully dispose of the wipe into a garbage receptacle immediately after use and dispose of gloves.

5.       Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.


High-touch/Common Surfaces
Members must follow these steps to clean all high-touch/common surfaces after each use (by a member or member of the public):

1.       Use a disinfecting spray or a antiseptic wipe to disinfect surfaces by spraying/wiping the surfaces. These include, but are not limited to:

·         keyboard, mouse

·         counter surfaces

·         doorknobs, handles

·         light switches

·         any other shared equipment or surfaces


Soft (Porous) Surfaces

1.       For soft (porous) surfaces such as fabric chairs, remove visible contamination when present and clean with appropriate cleaners for use on the particular material of which it is made.

2.       After cleaning, dispose of items (such as cleaning cloth) as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: Never use a soiled or dirty cloth to clean any surface.


Disinfect high-touch areas every time you enter and leave a vehicle using these steps:

1.       Using hand sanitizer, disinfect your hands.

2.       Using a disposable disinfectant wipe open the vehicle door.

3.       Using the same disposable disinfectant wipe, clean the following non-porous surfaces:

·         Steering wheel

·         Seatbelt clasp

·         Door handles

·         Visor

·         Switches and knobs

·         Seat base and back

·         Other areas that are commonly touched

4.       Carefully dispose of the wipe immediately after use (and remove gloves and dispose of them.

5.       Clean your hands with hand sanitizer or wash for 20 seconds.

Electronic Screens
This process is for cell phone screens, laptops, tablets, computer monitors and other sensitive electronic products:

1.       Moisten a microfiber cloth with a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol/30% water. The cloth should be damp, but not dripping wet.

2.       Wipe down monitor or computer screen.

3.       Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid streaking or pooling of liquids.


Notes: Using any material other than a microfiber cloth could cause damage to the product.  Avoid using any of the following chemicals or products containing these chemicals:

·         Any chlorine-based cleaner, such as bleach

·         Peroxides (including hydrogen peroxide)

·         Solvents such as; acetone, paint thinner, benzene,
methylene chloride or toluene

·         Ammonia (i.e. Windex)

·         Ethyl alcohol


Keep windows and doors open when possible in order to allow for and encourage air flow and ventilation, and reduce the number of high touch surfaces being used (i.e. door knobs).



Kitchen and training room are off limits, except with permission of the Fire Chief or Deputy Fire Chiefs.



Anyone who feels they are experiencing negative mental health implications should seek assistance as soon as possible:


1.       BC Municipal Safety Association (BCMSA) has partnered with Fire Hall mental health expert Diana Vissers, Work to Wellness, to deliver a free multimedia interactive platform with education, tools and resources to support the detection and efficient resolution of emerging and anticipated psychological and psycho-social problems. For more information, please visit the BCMSA website.


The BCMSA is “an independent, non-profit organization committed to improving worker health and safety in all industries throughout the province.


2.       The BC Government has a webpage dedicated to “Virtual Mental Health Supports During Covid-19”. In particular, BounceBack™ provides free access to online, video and phone-based coaching and skills-building program.


3.       HealthLinkBC Directory provides listings for health services provided by the provincial government, provincial health authorities, and non-profit agencies across the province. Program: 310 Mental Health Support in particular provides a toll-free number connecting callers to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. Offers emotional support, information on appropriate referral options, and a wide range of support relating to mental health concerns.



Face Masks

Masks must be worn at all times while on Fire Hall property or while in a Fire Department vehicle.

Members are responsible for proper disposal or frequent cleaning of face masks, dependent on which type they choose to utilize. Information for the care and disposal of facial masks can be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

a)       Fabric masks should be laundered after each day and dried on the highest temperature setting possible. They must be thoroughly dried before re-use.

b)      Paper masks should be disposed of after each day of use in accordance with the link above.

Disposable Gloves
These are not required unless a member is conducting first aid or carrying out duties that regularly require the use of them. Gloves are not to be used as replacement for proper and frequent hand hygiene. Wearing gloves may actually help spread the coronavirus as workers may unintentionally touch something or someone contaminated with the coronavirus with their gloved hand.