NVFC Tells Congress and HHS to Account for Emergency Responder Needs Related to COVID-19

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has been communicating with Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make them aware of the challenges facing the emergency response community in dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19.

On March 2, the NVFC sent a letter to House and Senate appropriators expressing concern that many fire and EMS agencies will require assistance as COVID-19 spreads, and specifically requesting that “…EMS be included as an eligible recipient for funds made available to support the public health system…” The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074) was signed into law on March 6 and provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 13, the NVFC sent a letter to the HHS asking, “…that SARS-CoV-2, the virus commonly referred to as COVID-19, be explicitly included as a potentially life-threatening infectious disease requiring notification under Section 2695 of the Public Health Service Act.” The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 requires a medical facility to notify, upon request, an emergency response agency if a patient transported by that agency to the medical facility is diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening infectious disease. HHS maintains a list of diseases requiring notification, and the NVFC is asking HHS to add SARS-CoV-2.

The NVFC maintains a COVID-19 Information and Resources for Emergency Responders page with links to various federal and non-federal resources. The page is periodically updated to add or remove links as necessary.